Bitcoin currency fuels unique program to help Escambia’s needy

Escambia_County,_Florida26 Dec 2013 / – While many parents spend their weekday mornings getting their children on the school bus and heading off to work, 34-year-old Jason King uses the hours before noon to prepare more than 100 sack lunches.

The lunches aren’t for the former network engineer and Army veteran’s three children. They are specially made for Escambia County’s homeless, and King, along with a handful of volunteers, has handed out more than 27,000 of the meals since March.

That’s right: 27,000 sack lunches.

King is the founder of Sean’s Outpost, a Pensacola homeless outreach center named after King’s friend, Sean Dugas, a former Pensacola News Journal reporter who was a homicide victim in 2012. Remarkably, Sean’s Outpost has consistently hand-delivered meals to the homeless since March with barely more than a $1,000 in cash donations.

Besides cash, the organization also receives donations in bitcoins, a peer-to-peer currency that is traded online, stored on computers and can be bought and sold with real money. The value of bitcoins has skyrocketed this year, rising above $1,200 per bitcoin on some exchanges in November.

King said Sean’s Outpost sells its bitcoin donations to local buyers for U.S. dollars or uses them to buy digital gift cards. King and volunteers then use the money or gift cards to pay for the sack lunches. The modest contents are deeply appreciated.

One day last week, scores of homeless people received a brown bag containing bologna on white bread, barbecue-flavoresd potato chips and a strawberry flavored Nutri-Grain breakfast bar. When King arrived at his first lunch delivery, Wayside Park in Pensacola at the base of the Pensacola Bay Bridge, there were already three homeless people waiting for him…… Read more

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