It is seldom far from my mind that I am among the millions living one paycheck away from homelessness. That’s why when I’m approached by someone asking for a hand-out it’s hard to say “No!”
I must have a neon sign over my head that says, “ask her!” because it seems I get asked a lot. Recently, one morning on the way to work I stopped at the drugstore to pick-up something. On my way out an older gentleman came up to me asking if I could “spare a dollar or two.” I laughed, out loud. Little did he know I had just scraped the bottom of my purse for change to pay for my purchase inside. I told him. He laughed too. He apologized for asking and told me to have a nice day.
My philosophy toward giving is this: do it when you can, don’t when you can’t.
If you can’t give monetarily find other ways to give. Give your time; serving food at a soup kitchen. Give your things; donating gently used clothing, etc. to a homeless shelter. Give your ear; listening and being friend to someone who has fallen on hard times.
The most important thing to remember is this; don’t be mislead by the stereotype. The man or woman standing on the corner begging for your change may not be a “vagrant.” They may just be down on their luck. A single mom; college educated, out of work, hoping for a break. A father; man of the family, lost his job after 15 years with the same company. Men and women who have spent their entire life savings, and then some, trying to avoid the situation they now find themselves in. Humiliated. Humbled.
– J. Ela