NEW YORK - At 24 years-old, Jayson Conner found himself sleeping on park benches in San Francisco, begging for his next meal.
Things like soap and deodorant were a luxury.
"People were very cruel. They would just walk by you and not even say hello, nothing, not even glance at you," Conner recalled.
Years of drug and alcohol addiction caught up to him leaving him no place to call his own.
"It was really, really rough. I didn't feel like I belonged to anything. You feel like you're just there, just breathing. That was it," Conner said.
Almost 15 years ago – still homeless – Jayson moved to New York, where he eventually met his now husband – Jeffrey Newman – and his life began to turnaround.
He got clean and a job as a server in Midtown.
Now, the pair is doing their part to help others living on the street.
"A person's circumstances doesn't make them anymore worthy of kindness and compassion, dignity and respect, and people forget that," Newman said.
Three years ago, the Queens couple founded the non-profit "Together Helping Others."
A few days a week, Conner and Newman walk around the city handing out backpacks to those in need.
They're filled with things like clean socks, toiletries, and hand warmers and blankets for cold nights.
"A lot of people will say 'you're giving me the whole bag?' And 'yes! this is all for you!" Conner said.
The pair is energizing others to do the same. Earlier this year, Conner and Newman launched “Backpacks for the Streets”. Now, instead of just the two of them, hundreds of volunteers canvas neighborhoods, handing out bags to the homeless.
"Seeing this, seeing that we can do something to help people just like Jayson is incredibly inspiring to me," Newman said.
It's inspiring to Conner too who says he could have never imagined he would be touching the lives of so many.
"We want something that's going to last long after we are gone. And I believe we can do it. I believe if everyone gets together, we can change the world," Conner said.
So for pounding the pavement to give back to those in need, Jayson Conner and Jeffrey Newman are our New Yorkers of the Week.