Street magazine provides alternative to panhandling in Kamloops - InfoNews

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Street magazine provides alternative to panhandling in Kamloops

Glenn Hilke holds up the first issue of The BIG Edition, a street magazine meant to be an alternative to panhandling for people in Kamloops. The launch was held at the Sandman Hotel on Jan. 11, 2019
January 11, 2019 - 3:13 PM

KAMLOOPS - Kamloops is now one of nearly 100 cities worldwide home to a magazine sold by people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Glenn Hilke with JUMP Kamloops acted as the emcee at The BIG Edition launch party today, Jan. 11 at the Sandman Hotel. The magazine, colloquially known as "The Big E," is an ad-free street magazine named after Elmer King, who played a big part in its establishment before he passed away suddenly last March.

"Two weeks after we heard we had a small grant from the city to start this, Elmer had a stroke and died. And it set us back terribly," Hilke recalls. "But when we were able to rebound the group decided, 'Yeah, we got to name this paper after Elmer.'”

King's original idea was to call the magazine "Street Scenes" and the publishers kept this name for the editorial he wrote before he died.

Mike Kelm (left) from the Lived Experience Committee shares a laugh with Randy Sam with the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society holding a copy of The BIG Edition.
Mike Kelm (left) from the Lived Experience Committee shares a laugh with Randy Sam with the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society holding a copy of The BIG Edition.

The modern version of street newspapers began in New York City in the late 1980s. Now they can be found in Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and all over the world. There is an entire online community called the International Network of Street Newspapers that share content. That means contributors have the chance to have their work published throughout Canada and internationally; this first volume has a stories from Vancouver for example.

"Locally speaking we have some amazing, creative people in this community as you will see," Hilke says, highlighting some of the stories from the first edition that touch on subjects like addiction, postpartum depression, and transitional housing.

"But one thing I have learned from reading all these stories is people write about them in the sense of what they learned from them, and what they hope other people will learn from them." 

Glenn Hilke (second from the left) introduces the Lived Experience Committee to a crowd of contributors, readers, family and friends. The committee is comprised of people who have formerly been homeless, or perhaps dealt with abuse, or addiction issues who actively work to help people living in precarious situations.  It's one way it helps is by publishing and producing The BIG Edition monthly magazine.
Glenn Hilke (second from the left) introduces the Lived Experience Committee to a crowd of contributors, readers, family and friends. The committee is comprised of people who have formerly been homeless, or perhaps dealt with abuse, or addiction issues who actively work to help people living in precarious situations. It's one way it helps is by publishing and producing The BIG Edition monthly magazine.

The Big E is produced and published by the Lived Experience Committee, a group of volunteers who have experienced homelessness, and other traumas, who now work to help people still living in precarious situations.

"You’ll notice there’s no advertising and it’s going to stay that way," Hilke says.

The sustainability of the paper relies on donations and purchases. The Big E can be purchased for $3 from vendors, or in bulk for reduced prices. Volumes are released monthly. 

For more information on how to purchase, donate, or contribute to the magazine contact Glenn Hilke 250-879-0465 or email thebigeditionkamloops@gmail.com.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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