When I was in college, working and living in Eugene, I found myself helping out the homeless fairly often. I volunteered at the local food bank and yes, the big no no, even donated money to people on the street (gasp)
Hey, I was just spreadin' the love. I was living in Eugene after all, and yes I wore birkenstocks. With socks. Sorry, I feel honesty is necessary.
As time went on my helping out decreased substantially. I began to feel uncomfortable. I found myself becoming a bit of a target in certain grocery store parking lots, approached by the same guys over and over again! I was feeling extremely taken advantage of. At that time I stopped giving. Well, unless they had a dog with them! :)
More and more of us are noticing the increase in folks out on the streets, holding up the cardboard signs. There has been much talk about whether or not they are legit. My thought is some are and some aren't. Who knows, but I wonder.
Today I was out at the craft store making returns and there was a younger guy (who was obviously not well), waiting out front. He asked me for some change. I had a few bucks on me and I started chatting with him regarding his situation. Now, who knows if this is true but anyway...
said he hitched a ride from San Francisco Bay, had been out of work and thought Oregon would have a better economy (umm, oops)
He asked me about jobs and I gave him some referrals for different non profits in town designed to help out folks similar to his situation. He was grateful for the conversation and it was good for me to enter a "Jessica free zone."
Anyway, my point being...I don't know what he is going to do with the tiny amount of 5 bucks I had on me. The price of 1 coffee, big deal. I decided it wasn't for me to know. I felt I should give that meager amount and yes, he may go buy a couple of beers, so what? I probably would too, given his situation. But, it wasn't about what I felt, it was about how I would respond.
All I am saying is, sometimes I just need to be obedient to that inner voice prompting me to do something. I don't like to hear that voice so most of the time I ignore it. Seriously, I do! In fact, I would have ignored this guy had he not spoken to me first.
Just sharing things brewing in this ol' sand trap of mine today. Afterwards, I headed over to Target to make some more returns and as I was finishing up I saw the guy pricing out some sleeping bags in the camping aisle.
Wow, my mind just went blank. I don't have anything left to write so I guess I will close!