People in Hernando County who are struggling to get by can get some good news courtesy of a new bimonthly "street newspaper" by Jericho Road Ministries.
Jericho Road ministry director Pastor Bruce Gimbel said that News from the Road, which takes its name from the ministry's existing newsletter, will provide relevant news and information on local, regional and national poverty issues and homelessness.
The 16-page bimonthly newspaper will be sold for $1 on street corners by area homeless and unemployed people. Vendors will be able to keep 65 cents from every copy sold.
Barbara Venditto, who recently took charge of design and production of the newspaper, said that she expects the first issue to be on the streets this month.
"It's on target so far," she said. "It's our first time doing something like this and there's been a lot to organize. We're learning a lot along the way."
Gimbel described News from the Road as "an outreach publication that targets the economically, emotionally and spiritually impoverished."
In addition to including general interest content, the publication will serve as a replacement for the ministry's bimonthly newsletter, which offers inspirational stories as well as updates of the ministry's homeless shelters and outreach programs.
Gimbel explained that the new publication is modeled somewhat after the Washington, D.C., street newspaper Street Sense, which is written and sold entirely by homeless to help them to earn income. That publication has been around since 2004 and has a monthly circulation of more than 25,000.
"The idea works," Gimbel said. "It offers people a dignified means of income as well as a sense of self-responsibility. It's something we felt is needed in our area especially in these tough economic times.
Like Street Sense, News from the Road will contain news, poetry, photos and feature stories written by freelance contributors. And though the publication's initial availability will be limited to Hernando, Citrus and Pasco counties. Gimbel said that could change once the newspaper establishes itself.
"We think we could easily market this in Hillsborough and Pinellas, where they don't have a street paper," Gimbel said.
Printing of the paper's first issue is being funded by the ministry, but Gimbel said he expects that advertising revenue will cover the cost of printing future issues.
"We've gotten a good response from the business community so far," Gimbel said. "We're looking to attract a lot of businesses in the area that want to be associated with doing something positive to help people in their community who are in need."
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.