Somewhere along my life’s timeline, I overheard people having that age-old argument about giving money to the homeless.
“I don’t want to give them money. They’re just going to buy booze with it.”
The rebuttal: “What if they aren’t though? What if they really are hungry? Are you willing to take that chance?”
ARE YOU WILLING TO TAKE THAT CHANCE?
If you are anything like me or most of my friends, cash does not often cozy up to the interiors of my billfold. As we spend our days in the depths of a time where debit cards rule, cash is practically an anomaly. One day I saw a man in a parking lot; he was about 80 years old, in a wheel chair, with a long white beard. His sign read, “Just Hungry.” I emptied out the spare change from my car’s ashtray into his palms. I apologized for not having more, but he was so grateful for the coins. After that, I asked myself how I could make that interaction easier, less awkward and more beneficial.
While recently discussing this issue with my friend Krista, we discovered that at some point we both had the brilliant idea of keeping a box of granola bars in the car for this very reason. People are always standing at intersections with cardboard signs that ask for “help” or “food.” As a woman alone driving around the city, I don’t feel comfortable picking up strangers and taking them to buy a burger. In the past I have driven by someone, gone to a drive-thru, only to be disappointed that the person had left by the time I got back with the food. Having a stash of non-perishables in the car for this very purpose is an easy way to give someone food on-the-spot for their hunger. It also negates the question of what they are going to buy with the money.
This post is for everyone who can’t always volunteer at the local homeless shelter but has a heart for helping people. Love does not have to be some big showy over-the-top act. You just have to mean it. A box of granola bars costs under 5$. You can give food to six different hungry people with that. It’s an easy way to show a bit of love to someone having a rough day.