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I passed a homeless man on the street today.

He asked me to buy him some chips; I ignored him.

Have I been desensitized by city life? Can I so easily refuse to acknowledge need?

I won’t make that mistake again.


Ryan Merrill said:

It's hard to say yes and hard to say no. I pass by the same homeless people on my way to work every day and most are asking for money.

I would happily take any of them to get them a meal, but they're not interested. And I guess that's where I draw my line: buy someone a hot meal, don't throw money at them.

Posted on November 7, 2008 05:03 PM

Ryan Brill said:

I had a similar experience on a trip to San Francisco a few years back. I was walking through Union Square when I was approached by someone who obviously made a series of bad life decisions. When he asked if I would buy him a piece of pizza, I turned my shoulder and kept walking. I've regretted doing that many times since then...

Posted on November 8, 2008 11:20 AM

Jason Robb said:

I know the feeling, Dan. I had hard time with that exact same situation for a long while.

For me, it all comes down to gifts. We all have different gifts. Some of us can give spare change and hot meals with ease. Others (myself included) have a hard time justifying it.

It's wrong to give out of guilt. And sometimes when you're ready to give, they're not ready for it.

Either way, you don't have to feel guilty. Your guilt is way worse than the thing that made you feel guilty.

Your gift to the world might not be giving to the homeless. Just keep doing what you're comfortable doing.


Posted on November 8, 2008 02:57 PM

Darren Hoyt said:

Next time, ask him what he needs. If he says 'food', take him to a convenience store and get him something healthy. If he says 'shelter' or 'drug rehab', point him to a city facility like Ready, Willing and Able. Even your suggestions are ignored, you've given him more consideration than most citizens do.

Posted on November 9, 2008 06:53 PM

Josiah Platt said:

I think my favorite part of this entry is your last: "I won't make that mistake again." I hate how easy it is to become disconnected and let go of compassion.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink ; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.

Matthew 25:35-36

Posted on November 11, 2008 04:54 PM

JD Graffam said:

I work with homeless in Memphis. Handouts from passersby don't help homeless people, they are a crutch preventing them from walking on their own.

Instead, keep cards in your wallet with the addresses of several homeless shelters that provide help and give those out instead.

You should volunteer at the shelter if you want to participate in the act of helping.

Posted on November 12, 2008 11:06 AM

Dan Mall said:

JD Graffam:

keep cards in your wallet with the addresses of several homeless shelters that provide help and give those out instead.

That's a wonderful idea!

Posted on November 13, 2008 07:55 PM

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