Have a Heart- Give Smart Wilmington

"Have a Heart - Give Smart" was created to bridge the gap between the community’s concerted efforts to impact homelessness, alleviate poverty and addiction and to engage the public’s participation in these efforts.  Through a public education campaign and by providing an alternative to giving money, organizers envision that Have a Heart – Give Smart will educate Downtown Wilmington residents, employees and visitors about these complex social issues and become a new way to further improve our community.

More than 75 organizations and groups in the region offer free meals, shelter and other vital services. "Have a Heart - Give Smart" encourages area residents and visitors to give more effectively by contributing to local agencies that can offer real life change to people in need. Our goals:

1. Encourage the public to reconsider their method of giving by reminding them that providing change to people on the streets is too often used to feed an addiction and that there are other and better ways to give.

2.  Empower the Municipal Service District to consider the welfare of local businesses and direct local merchants and residents to positively impact the social issues we face as a community.

3.  Direct a sustained, multi-year campaign with 100% of all donations given to local social service agencies, less third party financial transaction fees that are automatically deducted.  The MSD is underwriting all operating costs.

4.  Add more resources and capacity to social service agencies in order to help those in need.

5.  Reduce the number of panhandlers in the community and uplift lives.

"Have a Heart - Give Smart" is funded by the Downtown Municipal Service District and administered by Wilmington Downtown Incorporated (WDI).  Use of the “Give Smart” campaign courtesy of the Downtown Seattle Association. 

"Have a Heart - Give Smart" poster 

"Have a Heart - Give Smart" brochure 

Program Endorsements:

The following nonprofit groups have endorsed this campaign.  Please use the embedded links to learn more about each group and find out ways to make a difference by donating and/or volunteering:

  • The Rescue Mission of the Cape Fear: The Rescue Mission of Cape Fear is a non-denominational ministry with a duty to serve the homeless, hungry, and hurting of Wilmington.  They offer physical and spiritual healing to the area’s homeless population with the support of and in cooperation with churches, other ministries and the public.  Phone: 910.343.0366.
  • The Salvation Army:   The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.  Phone: 910.762.2070.
  •  United Way of the Cape Fear: UWCFA mobilizes resources to empower local people working toward leading self-sufficient, healthy lives.  Phone:  910.798.3900.
  • Vigilant Hope Vigilant Hope is a modern mission organization with a desire to educate, equip, and empower the body of Christ to reach those in need with the hope of the Gospel through outreach and educational programs.  Phone:  910.317.0239.

Other Resources:

Street Sheet:  This document lists local social service agencies that provide help for those in need along with contact information.  It is compiled by the Cape Fear Council of Governments.  Click here to obtain a copy.

Documentary on Panhandling in Wilmington:  In September 2017, WECT produced a one-hour documentary about panhandling in the Port City.  Here is a link to the story.

Donate Now:

Text-a-donation:  text “Heart” to 910.817.4301 

On-line donations via credit card….

****Note that 100% of all money raised will be donated to nonprofits that have endorsed the campaign – less the fees automatically deducted by third-party vendors such as credit card processing companies.***