A graphic designer from Ozone Park will ditch his digs for a week and sleep in Union Square Park in order to "inspire people to make sacrifices within their own lives." This is the second year Yusef Ramelize has conducted his "Homeless for One Week" project, where he donates all of the money he collects to homeless shelters or food banks. Last year he raised $3,635 for the Coalition for the Homeless, and this year the money will go to Food Bank of New York. So if you see this man, throw him some change!
Ramelize's employer, Informa, gave him a week off without forcing him to take vacation time, saying, "Many people just walk by the homeless. He's one of those unique people who doesn't just walk by—he tries to make a difference." So why Union Square instead of somewhere, well, closer to home? Ramelize's says he wants to be near the statue of one of his idols, Mohandas Gandhi. "That's one of the reasons I did it here," Ramelize said. "He wanted to bring peace around him, and he was willing to sacrifice his life."