Originally Posted by progmac
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