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You give a bum $5. Do you care how s/he spends it?

post #1 of 13
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I was thinking today about a time I gave a bum $5 and he went into the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. "How dare he!" I thought at first. Then I got to thinking...what, did I want him to use the money to start a small business? I decided then that gifts should be unconditional and if this guy felt like he needed to relax with a cigarette, it really isn't my concern.
post #2 of 13
That's why I don't give bums money and instead give to shelters and other charities.
post #3 of 13
Your first thought was more accurate. He basically took $5 from you and set it on fire. Either give in food or necessities or as Mydo suggested to shelters or organizations.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post

I was thinking today about a time I gave a bum $5 and he went into the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. "How dare he!" I thought at first. Then I got to thinking...what, did I want him to use the money to start a small business? I decided then that gifts should be unconditional and if this guy felt like he needed to relax with a cigarette, it really isn't my concern.

Don't give change. Make change happen.

If you'd like to give, start with Hot Chocolate for them. Food or drink. That way you know it will help them straight away, it doesn't go to booze, drugs, smokes, etc.

In the long run, work with charities.

Otherwise, if you're cool with it, and you just wanted to "share the love", then yes, maybe the bum needed some nicotine to get through one more assf&cked day.

Also, many destitute and homeless people have sever mental illnesses (especially in the US) that go grossly untreated.

Thanks for your good deeds today. Now think in a more wholistic way about the issues of poverty and homelessness in the US.

Yes, in the developing world microloans are very important. US $5 may be enough for a poor woman to say, buy a shovel and sell enough vegetables in a week to feed her baby for that week.

In the Western world though the first step is to tackle mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as chronic unemployment. You can help. Believe 8)

Solar-powered shelters for the homeless
post #5 of 13
I give money to panhandlers probably at least once a week.

The fact that most are so grateful, regardless of the amount, could make me care less what they do with it. If giving them a few dollars makes their day a tad bit better in the short run, that's good enough for me.

In the long run, it really doesn't matter. Giving them money or trying to help does no good. They will only change if they are willing to change themselves.
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post #6 of 13
I like giving to charities, as long as they are not affiliated to any church or religion.
post #7 of 13
i have given the occasional leftover from eating out to homeless, but never money.
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post #8 of 13
Well, I like to give directly to homeless people. It's a very well kept secret that most charities and homeless shelters have a lot of graft, and chances are only about one third of your donation is going to go directly to a homeless person.

I know that a lot of the time homeless people use the money they get on drugs or alcohol, but so what? If you give five dollars to a homeless guy, he might spend it on drugs, but what would you spend it on? Solar energy panels?

The fact is, those five dollars probably would go straight to Starbucks to feed your drug habit.
post #9 of 13
I have no desire to support some fool who decided to fry his or her brain on drugs, or to support shelters that do. What I spend my money on is not of concern, since I earned it. I have a job, and I am paid under the premise that I can do pretty much whatever I want with that money. If I were to give money to a bum, I have every right to do so under my own contract, whether it's the same as the salary contract I have with my employer, or not. Ultimately, I'd rather them starve to death and leave me alone, and I also have the right to do that, aside from the tax money I pay that serves that purpose (which is enough).
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post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Ultimately, I'd rather them starve to death and leave me alone, and I also have the right to do that, aside from the tax money I pay that serves that purpose (which is enough).

Wow.

How sad.

Fellows
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May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
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post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

I have no desire to support some fool who decided to fry his or her brain on drugs, or to support shelters that do.

While I do understand the sentiment -- handing money over to a stranger for no purpose other than they asked seems fool-hardy... Most homeless aren't homeless because they are druggies, most are homeless because they have mental disorders, most turn to drugs as a way of calming their demons.
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post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

While I do understand the sentiment -- handing money over to a stranger for no purpose other than they asked seems fool-hardy... Most homeless aren't homeless because they are druggies, most are homeless because they have mental disorders, most turn to drugs as a way of calming their demons.

Chicken or Egg ? ... How can you know?
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post #13 of 13
I never give to any panhandlers anymore. It doesn't help them, and it usually makes me into an enabler. I'd much rather give that money to a charity that I know can give people the real help they need.

Of course, as already mentioned in this thread, that means you have to be careful. It's not always easy to determine if a given charity supports that same ideals as you or how much their overhead is.
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