15 people living on the streets have been positively reunited with their families, thanks to social media and the efforts of this one volunteer organization.

Miracle Messages is a startup that records brief videos of homeless people giving loving messages to their long lost family members. Volunteers then put the videos on social media and locate the family based on likes, shares, and messages.

According to the organization, 30 of their messages have result in 15 happy reunions. Of the 15 homeless people, 40% were lifted off of the streets.

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Kevin Adler, founder and CEO of Miracle Messages, created the project as a means of honoring his late Uncle Mark – a loving family member who lived on and off the streets for 30 years because of his schizophrenia. Adler first put the project in action during the holiday season in 2014; with hot beverages and pastries in hand, he asked homeless people around San Francisco if they had any messages they wanted to send to their families.

The startup has expanded to include a team of volunteers who have their own special reasons for supporting the organization’s mission.

“I chose to volunteer with Miracle Messages to humanize the homeless, because when my family lived on the streets for ten years, we wished someone might empathize with us,” says volunteer Michael Gaulden. “Maybe if a caring family member of ours could have found us and helped us, we would have been able to get off the streets much sooner.”

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While Miracle Messages understands that some people living in poverty prefer not to reconnect with their families, volunteers have found that 90% of their work have had extraordinarily positive results.

“Everyone is someone’s somebody, but the majority of homeless people are totally disconnected from their social support systems,” says Adler. “While relational brokenness and mental illness separate some families, many homeless people are disconnected due to digital literacy, access to technology, lost contact information, feeling ashamed, and/or feeling worthless (i.e., technological and emotional barriers).”

The organization hopes that by forging connections between homeless people and their family, they will be able to life at least 1% of the country’s homeless population out of poverty over the course of the next four years.

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