Friday, September 4, 2009

To give or not to give PART II

If you remember, a little while ago, I blogged about an experience I had with a homeless guy who asked me for money very persistently. It wasn’t a bad experience, just a thought provoking one. You can read my original post HERE.

And I asked for your feedback! You wonderful readers commented with really thoughtful, great answers, and I wanted to follow up with another post responding to your responses. Thanks for the great, great feedback everyone! Here's some highlights from your comments:

Dorothy said:
“I don't generally give to them, though I do give to homeless shelters regularly.
Sometimes I feel bad, but I think usually it's feeding an addiction. I know a few people that have tried giving food or bus tickets and have gotten sworn at by the panhandler.
This isn't to say it's always the case, but it seems to happen a fair bit."

Anonymous said...
“I usually don't carry money on me, so I can honestly say that I cannot give them any money. If I do carry money, I just carry the amount that I will need to use that day (which helps me not to make impulse purchases) and I keep it in my pocket or another out of the way place, and I say I don't have any change to spare.”

Logan said...
“Also having the money right there would be a hard thing to not give the money, Personally I most likely give out the 5 dollars, but then pray to God that he would do the correct thing with the money, and then next time (if I went busking) when I would go to the market occasionally empty the money into your pocket or something along those lines so it’s not in plain view.”

Josh said...
“Honestly, I don't think that we should decide what they do with the money, if giving them money is going to help them feed themselves then I think it is worth every penny, if they use it for something that isn't going to help them it was their choice. But there is always a chance that it will really help them.
Giving to shelters is always a really good idea, but sometimes I think it's best to give directly to the person in need.”

Dorothy brings up a good point when she says that she gives to homeless shelters regularly. I have to admit that I don't and it is something that I certainly should do. Giving to shelters is definitely a good way to give and be able to know that your money really is going where you want it to go. This would also allow me to say, when asked, "sorry, I give my money to such-and-such-a-shelter". And then I wouldn't have to feel guilty about not helping the homeless.

But I think Josh is also right when he says "“Honestly, I don't think that we should decide what they do with the money." But, but, but...Oh gosh darnit, it's a tough call.

So I have a plan.

Here's the plan.
  1. I have decided to give 10% of all my busking money to a shelter of some sort that directly helps people in need.
  2. When asked, I can realize know I am under no obligation to give money, but if I feel called to, I will give them some money. I'll just see, and judge from the situation. I'll certainly give money if I feel I should.
  3. As Logan suggests, I'll also empty my case every once and a while, to avoid obviously having made a bunch of money and denying them a loonie.
So that's the plan! And I'm stickin' to it. I'm planning to go busking tomorrow, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I'll also be back on facebook for the first time in two weeks tomorrow, so I'll post my feelings about my facebook-less weeks then!


Runs With Scissors said...

Wow, that is really cool!
Really good post too, it's great that you followed up on the previous post and decided to do something about it!
Kudos to you!!!

arlene said...

Good thoughts Daniel. A funny thing happened to me on holidays. In Seattle, there are a LOT of panhandlers. I usually give something, sometimes invite someone to have a meal with us, or give them money for lunch. One guy asked so convincingly for money, we gave him a few busks and went on our way. We were in Starbucks a while later and he came in and ordered a coffee with all the trimmins', then turned around and saw us. We thought it was pretty funny...even the homeless in Seattle have to have their Starbucks! Was I upset...why? It made his day a little better.
It's very good to see you thinking about social issues like these, (and bringing them up with others) and really making a decision about why you want to do what you choose to do.