“I’m trying to help those most in need in our society by giving them some of the most basic things we need to survive.”

Every night in Birmingham, a young man (who wishes to remain anonymous) dons a Spiderman costume and leaves his home at 9:00pm, not returning home until the wee hours of the morning. What heroic work is he doing? Feeding the homeless.

The Birmingham Spiderman Dons the Iconic Outfit and Uses It for Good

A bartender by day, he becomes a real-life superhero at night, buying sandwiches and other food from local grocery stores and then distributing it among the homeless population in his community. He’s usually on the streets until midnight, getting around on his skateboard.

The Birmingham Spiderman has been serving his community since he was about 17 years old–but he wasn’t always in character. “I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces,” he said. One day, he wondered, if people were happy to see him now, how much happier would they be if he made his rounds dressed as Spiderman?

“Dressing as my other childhood hero, my dad, probably wouldn’t have had the same impact,” he jokes.

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Indeed, before dressing up as Spiderman, most people wouldn’t give him a second look when he was out doing volunteer work. Now, he attracts quite a bit of attention. “When they see Spiderman handing out food,” he says, “they come over and ask what I’m doing and are really interested.” 

And this attention is exactly what he wants. It gives him the opportunity to raise awareness. People have offered money to help the Birmingham Spiderman in his efforts, but he always refuses. What he wants is for others to be inspired and to get involved themselves. So when they take selfies with him, the young man asks them to post the pictures to social media with the hashtag #feedthehomeless.

Spreading Love and Awareness

The Birmingham Spiderman also has his own social media channels. He uses Twitter and Facebook to educate and bring awareness to the growing problem of homelessness. In one post, he writes: Birmingham has the highest numbers of homeless people in England, with over 925 households. In another, he underlines the fact that MP’s are given an allowance to buy a second home, but the homeless don’t even get help for a first home.

“People have seen me on Facebook or Twitter,” he acknowledges, “and they say what I am doing is really good. Some are even saying they want to do the same. I plan to do it for as long as I can.”

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Thirty-four percent of the homeless population in his area are under the age of 24. “These are shocking figures,” the Birmingham Spiderman wrote on Twitter, “and we need to invest more into our young people and make changes.”

“I’m just going out like Spider-Man, doing heroic things like feeding the homeless,” he says lightly. But then, taking a more serious tone, “I’m trying to help those most in need in our society by giving them some of the most basic things we need to survive.”

How Can You Help Your Community Today?

The young man has learned a lot in all his years of volunteering. “We’re all part of the human experience,” he says. “We need to look at everyone as human and help each other the same as we would a close friend.”

These are words that indeed inspire us to help others, in our own ways and in our own communities.

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