Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Raffle payday comes for some, but not all, shelter patrons.

Clients from Downtown Daily Bread, a soup kitchen and drop-in shelter on South Street, were recruited to promote an Election Day raffle. Some still await payment.

Men from the Bethesda Mission shelter who were recruited for an Election Day raffle scheme have been compensated for their work, but patrons of another local shelter say they’re still being stiffed.

Raffle organizer Kyle Myers, who also uses the name Kyle Schlessman, went to Bethesda Mission on Reily Street Wednesday evening to pay seven men $100 each for their work on Tuesday. Myers had hired the men to distribute raffle tickets and promotional fliers to voters entering Harrisburg polling places.

The raffle offered voters a chance to win a free iPhone if they participated in Harrisburg’s mayoral election. It was ended by a Dauphin County court injunction on Tuesday.

Another raffle organizer recruited workers from Downtown Daily Bread, a drop-in shelter and soup kitchen on South Street. Staff there said on Thursday that patrons were still waiting on paychecks.

Anne Guenin, director of Downtown Daily Bread, was able to confirm that, of the six patrons who were hired to distribute raffle tickets on Tuesday, one was paid $50 – a portion of what she claims she was promised. Guenin said that at least one other woman was still waiting for payment and could not confirm the status of the others.

Tyrone Lewis was napping at Daily Bread on Tuesday morning when a man entered the shelter and shouted an advertisement for paid work. Lewis said the man acted “belligerently” when Karen Fetrow, coordinator of the drop-in shelter, told him he could not recruit patrons.

The man signed into the shelter’s roster as Kevin Brown, according to Fetrow. She said she did not ask him for ID and thinks he used an alias.

Lewis said he left with the man because he needed money and worked all day handing out tickets. He claimed he’s still owed $75.

“I’m not too happy,” Lewis said on Thursday.

On Thursday evening, Myers said he would “absolutely” pay the Daily Bread patrons their wages. He said he would call the shelter on Friday to make arrangements.

Myers went to the Bethesda Mission shelter himself on Tuesday morning to recruit men to promote the raffle. He promised them $10 an hour to distribute the tickets and fliers. After the injunction was filed at midday, some of the men were photographed and interviewed by county sheriffs, who were ordered to seize raffle materials from seven polling places.

By Tuesday evening, Bethesda Mission residents had not been paid for working at the polls all day in freezing weather. They were allegedly told by organizers that they could not collect payment until the county concluded its investigation into the raffle.

TheBurg previously reported that six Mission residents had worked for Myers on Tuesday. Bill Christian, director of the Men’s Shelter at Bethesda Mission, confirmed that seven men had worked.

Christian previously told TheBurg that political candidates and parties often recruit mission residents as canvassers in election season. When Myers came to the mission on Tuesday morning, Christian allowed seven men to leave the shelter with him.

If he had known that the raffle would end in a court-ordered injunction, Christian said he would have never let the men go.

Continue Reading