Twitter, Richard Branson and some serendipity leads to aid for homeless shelter in Glendale

One tweet led to another and on Wednesday, British business magnate Sir Richard Branson agreed to donate $2,000 to Glendale's winter shelter, which has been hitting its 80-bed capacity nightly despite a bare-bones budget.

Branson on Tuesday tweeted that he would donate the money to Ascencia, Glendale’s largest homeless services provider and the shelter’s operator, if 2,000 people tweeted the word “shoeathon.”

They did. And so Branson — through his nonprofit Virgin Unite and phone company Virgin Mobile — made good on his pledge.

Virgin spokeswoman Felicia Hill said the money would likely be sent out to Ascencia in a couple weeks. The money will likely be used to supplement the regional winter shelter -- funded by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a countywide agency -- which services Glendale and the surrounding areas.

The origin of the unlikely Twitter challenge stretches back to December, when Shannon Smith of Aliso Viejo wore Branson’s shoes to volunteer at the shelter on Christmas Eve.

And just how did Smith acquire a pair of Branson's footwear? After Smith tweeted that she wanted to spend a day in the billionaire's shoes, Branson sent her his size 10 ½ sneakers.

She then sent an email to Virgin officials about her experience at the shelter and they responded with the Twitter proposition.

“I think it’s unbelievable,” Smith said. “Just to think, it all started with one tweet.”

-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine


Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World