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Am I the only one that wonders about the homeless/panhandlers you see on street corners and a lot of times roaming around in parking lots of malls and grocery stores these days? Or if you're at a pro sports stadium/field there seems to be an influx of beggars wanting your money!
Most (like 99%) have tattered and worn clothes and are quite hygenically unkempt. By this I mean, they haven't cleaned their body for days perhaps weeks!! There are open doors at the YMCA's, some gas stations, homeless shelters, etc. to clean up.
Now some may question my motives here...but I'm not out for any kind of revenge, just thinking 'aloud' more or less as I type my Thursday's thought.
In the King James' version of the bible, Jesus is quoted: "Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven." Luke 6.20. Personally, I'm having thoughts that this was/is NOT panhandlers we most commonly see today on street corners (again, today, probably 95% are not the innocent poor)...in ancient times there were 'innocent' poor--ones who were treated unjustly and lost properties, families; innocent of structural oppressions---maybe even in biblical proportions such as with whole communities taken away.
He also tells us in the book of Matthew that we should "Give to everyone who begs from you...."
But, have you ever given to a man who is holding up a cardboard sign that states on it something to the effect "Homeless - Hungry - Please Give"?!! He's wearing torn clothes, hair is matted and dirty, one may have worn gloves and a stocking cap. Sometimes a dog by his side on a leash, and perhaps a thermos or a brown paper bag beside the dog? Have you ever witnessed these people in a large city? I have. Many-a-times. At intersections, they could be found under an overpass? Stopping traffic, begging?
I think it was in Washington D.C. once where hubby and I were walking around the sights of historical interest, and about a block away from the capitol building was a panhandler. He would look you in the eye, and if you continued walking past him, vulgarities would spew forth from his mouth. That was one time I was glad we didn't share our own hard earned money. Someone like that, who was begging, and didn't receive as he thought he should, he'd slander innocent passers-by!
Then one time at a tourist attraction in a much smaller city, there was a beggar...same scenario with mismatched clothes, dog and you name it. Hubby acutally gave the man a five dollar bill. And of course, hubby was 'blessed' by the man! Then, by middle afternoon, we were in a bar getting a cold beer to quench our thirst, and the same man was in there drinking and drunk!!!
Also, I've always wondered with a few, maybe 45-50% of the street panhandlers --where do they get the money to always have a pack of cigarettes? Smoking away as they beg for money!!! And/or - what is actually in that paper bag by your dog?
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Now, these days, as economy seems to fail even the biggest of corporations, it's difficult to just walk past some of the poor without doling out some of your own cash. Yet...
more and more, large cities are passing ordinances which some are banning panhandlers. Arresting them. Locking them up. Feeding them with the taxpayers' money and providing housing in county/city/state jailhouses. For both sides, it's a win win situation. Or is it lose lose? Depends on how you look at things in life.
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I, for one, have come to the conclusion that it's better to give to REPUTABLE, charitable organizations(but then another thought is the FEMA and Red Cross organizations during and after the devastating hurricane Katrina---a lot of reported wrong doings within the inner core of the supposedly charities??!!?). Giving monetary donations to a homeless organization or my 'tossed aside' clothes to Goodwill or Salvation Army(one organization I tend to give willingly is the Ronald McDonald Houses ---they perhaps aren't for the 'poor' per se, but they DO help for families in need of a place to sleep and eat -closeness to children's hospitals when the need arises without having to worry about having money on hand to get a room a great distance away from their loved dying children in a hospital). And, donating money to groups that provide food for the poor. I won't give to street-corner panhandlers any more after the drunken beggar we witnessed. That one instance is keeping me from trusting any of them! Even tho pity and sadness prevails for me to see something like this most times, it's just doesn't feel right for me to give to the poor on the street any more.
It's sad to have these thoughts and feelings of distrust, but with all the fine organizations out there willing to help the poor, it just makes me feel more comfortable to give to a more visual means of seeing someone fed and clothed without spending the charitable money given to them for whiskey and smokes!! My trust for these people went out the window one day and I don't think they'll regain that trust from me again.
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