WHO DESERVES YOUR CHARITY? WHO DO YOU PASS BY? WHO DO YOU GIVE TO? Today’s Daily Post Challenge asks if you should give to the homeless. Most of the responders said “Yes.” Some qualified their yes by saying give food not money as it assures the money will not be used for drink or drugs. Haven’t read all the responses, so maybe some have brokered against giving directly to a homeless person. NYCity subway posters say give to organized charities, not individuals. I tend to do the opposite.
WOULD YOU DROP A DOLLAR IN THIS MAN’S CUP? I would just to honor his creativity. When I lived in the Bronx, there was a hustler whose sign said “I want to be honest, I need money for some beers.” The first time David and I saw his sign, we rolled down the window and gave him a dollar. Didn’t give him anything again, even though we saw him fairly regularly. We both had the feeling, he probably made more begging every day, than we did working. He was what I would call a professional beggar.
So who do I give to? I try always to give to performers believing they were working for their pay. As noted above I pay for the laughs some beggars give me. I also give to drunks sleeping next to their signs.
I didn’t always give to drunks or obvious addicts. Why do I give now? A parent advocate who worked for me, gave to anyone who asked and she was the one who shamed me into understanding the need to give to even the passed out drunk on the street.
She explained, “He could be my son.”
Her son was on the street, caught in the end stages of alcoholism.
“Maybe he’ll use it to eat, most likely he will use it to feed his habit, that might be the best he can do, while the best I can do is pray, hope and give to other mother’s sons.”
She touched my heart and I now give to the drunks as well as the performers and comedians. All are sons and daughters. Each does the best s/he can. That best is obviously not enough, but it is the best that person can do.
So yes, I give to the homeless, but I don’t give to those that strike me as hustlers. See this WordPress post for a description hustlers. It’s a choice. At the same time, I think Bishop Basil of Cesarea, aka St. Basil had it right, when he said, “The bread that you store up belongs to the hungry; the coat that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold that you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.”
That is a favorite quote of mine although my actions don’t live up to Basil’s edict. I have more than one coat in my closet, some food stored in my pantry, alas no gold hidden in the ground, but I could give more than I do. So I give and I steal from the homeless. I do the best I can and should do better. Hopefully writing this post will push me in that direction.
Share, care, and stay strong, I’m trying.