‘Spare Change’ To Expand to Worcester

Spare Change News—a street newspaper started by homeless individuals that is circulated in Cambridge and Boston—will expand its circulation area to Worcester starting Oct. 8.

David J. Jefferson, executive director of Spare Change News, said the move was spearheaded by Robert Flanagan, a community organizer for the Worcester Homeless Action Committee, and Spare Change News.

The publication’s Worcester edition, which is slated to be printed monthly, will feature a 1,000-issue circulation in its first printing.

Jefferson said the Worcester edition will first be shipped to Cambridge from its press in Long Island City before he personally drives the newspaper to Worcester.

“In the future, we might develop a more sophisticated system,” Jefferson said.

In Cambridge, the newspaper’s vendors—who comprise people who have found “it difficult to obtain more conventional work due to myriad types of adversity,” according to Spare Change News’ website—buy each issue for 25 cents and sell it for one dollar, pocketing the difference. Though the sale price of an issue will remain the same in Worcester, the vendor system may differ from its Cambridge counterpart.

The biweekly Cambridge edition of Spare Change News is paid for through paper sales to vendors, In contrast, the first issue of the Worcester edition has been paid for primarily through advertisements.

How the paper is sold in Worcester will be contingent on that city’s urban landscape, Jefferson said.

“City planning in Worcester is quite different from the model we have in Boston and Cambridge,” he said, adding that vendors in Worcester will be able to sell Spare Change News “at corners of busy intersections when people in cars can give them money,” as opposed to in front of stores or on busy sidewalks, as is the case in Cambridge and Boston.

The Worcester edition will include four pages of content devoted to local news. But some of its content will overlap with that of the Cambridge and Boston edition, including next week’s cover story—an exclusive interview with Mass. Governor Deval L. Patrick ’78.

Several writers for both editions are either homeless or formerly homeless. They are often motivated by telling their own stories—from articles on access to health care to stories on drug addiction—said Adam J. Sennott, editor in chief of Spare Change News.

“They’re on the front lines of what they’re writing about.” Sennott added.

Jefferson said he hopes the magazine will continue to grow—though without forgetting its roots.

“The [Spare Change News] board and I would like to see the paper cover more geographic territory, including the North and South Shores,” he said. “But at the same time, we don’t want to forget our heart here in Cambridge.”

—Staff Writer Michelle B. Timmerman can be reached at