The following is an excerpt from a reader about their endeavor to give bags of goodies to the homeless in Los Angeles:
“A few weeks ago, some moms and I got together to make ‘blessing bags‘ for the homeless. Basically a gallon size Ziploc bag full of nonperishable snacks and small toiletries. You keep them in your car and give them to homeless people begging at stoplights. I was inspired by my daughter who saw a man holding a sign that said “hungry” and wanted to help him.
Anyway, we made the bags and listening to some of the stories coming back are curious. We are all having trouble giving the bags away!!! The homeless people I’ve encountered have either yelled at me, simply declined, or asked if there’s “any money in there.”
Now I’m trying not to feel hurt. And I’m trying to figure out why they don’t want my goodwill!”- Reader Email
Alternative Giving to Homeless: My Thoughts
If you live in an urban area, homelessness is an overt fact. I (Brent) rode the subway from Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles (yes, we do have a few subways) and was hit up twice for money on that trip.
I honestly didn’t have cash or change and I’m always torn about whether to give it when I do. Am I the only one with this dilemma?
My wife and I have also made and given out such Ziplock bags of goodies to the homeless. We learned in San Francisco that fresh clean socks are a hot item among the homeless, so they seemed appreciative.
We were never yelled, but they did seem confused at times when we leaned out the car window to offer our blessing bag.
Why did we make up these bags instead of handing out money? Lack of trust for those who would use money to harm themselves. The desire to do good. Wanting to help the problem and not fuel the problem. We wanted to feel good about ourselves…It’s a complex answer isn’t it?
Homelessness is a macro problem, and the solutions needed are multilayered and complex. I only hope the goodwill and blessing bags of this group of moms and children will change this world for the better.
Have you ever participated in alternative giving to a homeless person? Please share in the comments below.
November Mentions & Stats
Thanks to all the new RSS subscribers, daily readers, those who have followed on Twitter, and random folks for stopping by! This has been our biggest month yet and we owe it all to you.
- Weekly Roundup: James Bond, Kohls, and the Renting of Scarface Mansion by Budgets Are Sexy
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- Carnival of Passive Investing hosted by Broke Professionals.
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- Life Insurance: An Act of Love + FAQ About Life Insurance
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- Debt Free Stories (Debt Success Stories)