Now fans are calling on other companies to step up.
By Joe McCarthy, Global Citizen, February 6, 2019
Singer-songwriter Sia tweeted at Pizza Hut on Feb. 2, asking the fast food chain to “donate a load of pizzas to your local homeless community every night this week.”
Within an hour, Pizza Hut simply responded, “Done.”
Inspired by the interaction, hundreds of people commended the act of charity, shared their own stories of adversity, and promised to help people experiencing homelessness.
Sia’s call to action included the hashtag #FeedTheHeart, which became a rallying cry of sorts as Twitter users urged other companies to help the homeless.
One Twitter user replied that the pizza chain Little Caesars had repeatedly donated pizzas to a shelter he stayed at during a challenging period in his life.
The “Elastic Heart” singer also called on motels and hotels to offer rooms to people experiencing homelessness, and said that she would cover the costs of any accommodations provided.
Sia is a constant advocate on social media. Around Christmas, she asked her fans to put her in touch with people experiencing illnesses or other forms of pain, adding that she wanted to help them out.
On World AIDS Day, the singer called on followers to donate to AmfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. Sia also encouraged fans to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union on Giving Tuesday.
In early November, she supported the “Mass Bail Out” of Rikers Island, a New York jail slated to close because of frequent allegations of human rights violations, and called for an end to cash bail on Twitter. In doing so, she joined the broader fight to decriminalize poverty in the US.
Sia’s latest efforts have drawn attention to the urgent issue of homelessness in the US.
In 2018, an estimated 553,000 people were homeless on any given night, an increase over the year before. Oftentimes, people experiencing homelessness have to choose between food, shelter, health care, and other necessities.
As a result, homeless people face higher rates of malnutrition than the general public.
Children who are homeless and hungry have trouble attending and paying attention in school, which makes them more likely to drop out.
Without access to regular shelter, people experiencing homelessness often end up sleeping on the streets, where they may be exposed to extreme weather conditions, are vulnerable to illness and assault, and become the targets of widespread stigma.
It’s not just homeless people who struggle to access food. More than 51 million Americans can barely afford food and rent, according to a study from last year.
Food banks, farmer’s markets, and food stamps are often the only things standing between families and chronic hunger.
Throughout the country, millions of people entitled to food assistance are unaware they can receive it, or choose not to because of the stigma surrounding welfare.
Sia’s #FeedTheHeart initiative helps to bring more attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness and could potentially spur long-term reform to ease the suffering of millions of people.
Why Global Citizens Should Care
Homelessness has been rising in the US for the past two years, underscoring the country’s steep levels of inequality.
This crisis has prompted states and cities to declare states of emergency and led the UN to intervene. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.