He's using his biggest talent to help others.
Chris Leamy, an up-and-coming musician, has written songs for big artists and even has his own distribution deal with Sony, with whom he will release his first music video soon.
With all this promise of fame, Leamy also uses his musical abilities to help others less fortunate than himself, which has sparked a campaign called #HePlaysForMe.
It all started when he was coming home late on the subway and a homeless woman, who was panhandling at the time, said that this would be much easier if she had a guitar and could play music like Leamy. She explained that those performing on the streets often earn more money from passersby than homeless people asking for money.
Leamy decided that weekend that he would start playing alongside homeless people and that all of the money he earned during that session would go to the individual homeless person. What started as one good deed soon led to a campaign that he has continued to this day.
Every week, Leamy approaches people on the street and asks if it’s okay if he plays for them. He said of the interactions,
“These are people who have so little, and they sometimes get nervous when a stranger sits down trying to help them. I usually give them a dollar or two and ask if it is okay if I sit down. That tends to relax them.”
He starts off by chatting with the person and then he begins to play. Leamy has said that there is a lot to be learned from the people he meets, as they all have different stories. He said,
“The best moments by far were in the stories that these individuals told me. A man named Mike ‘Spoons’ was sitting in Union Square using spoons as drums since someone stole his banjo. He was asking for spare change to get enough money together so he could afford a bus ticket home for Thanksgiving. I’ll never forget when he said, ‘I’d like to see my family; I feel like I just need to get home to figure it all out.’ I sat there for around an hour or so and we earned the 24 bucks.”
On top of giving money to each individual, he also personally matches the donations from each session and gives that to the Bowery Mission, which is an organization that helps homeless people with shelter, essentials, and medical care. As of earlier this year, he had raised $2,000 for individuals and donated $4,000 to Bowery, both through his personal donations and from others who have also matched the donations.
Leamy said that he comes away from every session feeling humbled by the people he meets, and that he will continue to do this work for as long as he can to help erase the stigma around homelessness and relieve the financial burden for those living on the streets.
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