Meg Terhar was hesitant about selling Real Change in the neighborhood where she grew up. But she wasn’t doing well at her first location, in Fremont, and a friend was giving up her spot for a contract job at Amazon. So Meg decided to try it.
“The rest is history. I vend at Wedgewood QFC, and I really enjoy it. It’s really different to vend where my roots are as an upper middle-class person.” Roots are important to Meg. “I’m on my paternal side a fourth-generation Seattleite.” Her siblings mostly live on the outskirts of Seattle. Her dad, who is 92, lives a few miles away. “I stay in an apartment in my neighborhood; we sold [the house I grew up in] several years ago, when my mother was living. My parents moved into a condo that they purchased, and then they both got sick and moved into assisted living. Now Dad’s in a special care home, which is on a bus line, which is great. Aging parent issues, it’s a tough one. But we get through it.”
Meg started selling Real Change after she “left a job that will remain nameless. I quit that job on the 24th of December of last year. I had really never heard of Real Change. I was volunteering at a food bank. A friend who supervised at the food bank was a vendor. I didn’t recognize her at first [when she was selling]. I wish I had bought from her because now I understand the cycle of giving and taking, but then my knee-jerk reaction was, ‘Well, when I get a job I’ll buy from you.’”
One day she got off the bus and realized the vendor was her friend. After that, “when she wasn’t busy I’d stand beside her, and I saw how much fun she was having. With the job market as it was and that frustration, I thought, ‘Well, what about this?’”
As a long-time resident, Meg worries about the effect social service cuts will have on security in a neighborhood that always seemed safe. She notes that the Catholic church where she was baptized now has a security guard. Also, “a few panhandlers have found their way to Wedgewood. If food stamps are cut off, I’m going to be seeing a lot more of that. We’re not used to the panhandler thing in little old Wedgewood.”
In the meantime, she’s enjoying what she’s doing. “My favorite is when parents give their child a dollar and have their kids come up. In the summer, a lot of people take a walk to buy food, and where I stand, they’ll tie up their dogs. [I like] the interaction with the dogs.”
Meg would like to be a vendor mentor at Real Change; she has a lot of computer experience. She also thinks about going back to school and getting a degree, possibly in social work. Still, she says, “I’d like to stay with Real Change. It’s just snowballed. I’m very fortunate.”