How many times, when you’ve seen someone standing on a street corner with a sign asking for a hand-out, have you wondered what to do? Do you look away, or pick up your phone? Do you search for some cash in your purse, or in the console? Do you feel guilty if you drive away? Or do you give a few dollars and hope that your generosity is really put towards some good use?
I’ve written about this before in various ways. Sometimes I give, and sometimes I don’t. I don’t usually carry much cash, or I’d probably give more often, and I especially like to support the homeless and previously-homeless vendors of The Contributor because they are building a newspaper-selling business for themselves.
This week, my coworker Rhonda told a group of us at the HR retreat that she had recently learned of the idea of how to help those who are beggars, whether homeless or not. Maybe it’s not a new idea, but it was new to me! It was interesting, and I wanted to write about the concept tonight.
What Rhonda shared was that people make up little bags of goodies and store them in the car to have ready for when someone is asking for a hand-out. She liked the idea of teaching her son that generosity doesn’t have to be about just giving money, but can be in sharing, too.
You can Google the idea to see what people are putting in their bags, but she mentioned granola bars as starting place. I might eat those, if I kept them in my car, and I’m really not sure I can keep my car stocked with goody bags, because I can’t remember to carry a bit of cash, but keeping some things to share could be nice. I’m thinking about it.
The one caveat I’ll mention is that it’s not up to us to judge. If you feel in your heart you should give, give. If you don’t, don’t. And if you give, don’t get your feelings hurt if the recipient’s not thankful. You’re not walking in those pairs of shoes, so give and let it go. Finally, think about what you’re putting in your goody bags, if that’s what you decide to do. If everyone gives a toothbrush, how many toothbrushes are the homeless going to need to store somewhere? What if the person is diabetic and you give them sugar? Maybe what you’re giving isn’t that helpful, so do a little research before you start packing up your treats.
DAY 97 HOMEWORK: Do what’s in your heart to do. There are lots of opportunities to practice your generosity. And if sharing with those on the street is not your thing, find another way to be generous to those in need.