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:
“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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
- I have decided to give 10% of all my busking money to a shelter of some sort that directly helps people in need.
- 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.
- 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.
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!