Daniel Farr is the founder of the nonprofit organization Project H.E.L.P. ATL, which stands for Humanity Evolves from Loving People. Since 2020, Project H.E.L.P. ATL has been spreading kindness to and through the community through action, helping 3,000 people since the organization’s inception by providing meals, dental assistance, hair care, showers, COVID-19 relief, and more. Project H.E.L.P. is dedicated to empowering, engaging and educating the community.
How do you get millennials involved in this type of project?
You have to make it fun. We are a generation of “What’s in it for me,” so we just provided a space for people to come and give back, and it was different than most volunteer situations. What I learned is that our age group is looking for something that’s bigger than us. Whatever that may be, it may be organizations, Greek wise or not, it may be different things like Urban League. We’re looking for things that are going to be bigger than us, because especially down here in Atlanta you can get caught up in just going out all the time. What we did was we built a very fun environment. You think back on some of the other volunteer opportunities, it may be you just passing out clothes or just putting food on a plate, and we made something that was fun. We created a process and it’s actually in our mission statement [that] we will “Turn Up for Humanity.”
What did you learn about the unhoused community while being a part of this organization?
I’ll say one of the main things I’ve learned not only through talking with mentors, but also through going out and actually talking with these individuals … whether or not they’re homeless or experiencing homelessness, we tend to have a certain perception of them that they may be lazy, or it may just be drugs, but it has a multitude of circumstances that can [prevent] someone from having what we’d like to maybe call a “life.” I talked with a young lady once and she explained that she lost both her mom and her dad and went through the grieving process. You only get a certain amount of weeks off from your job, and then you have to get right back to work, with no one to talk to and no one to lean back on. She went into depression, lost her job, lost her house, and now she’s [unhoused]. Another thing is mental illness, which is probably one of the highest components [to people] experiencing homelessness. I think that if the government really wanted to, we [could] really address a lot of the issues that are right now plaguing the community. The more that they are forced into action by individuals all coming together with one voice, the more actions are going to actually happen.