Old ShoesI was in Sunday School last week and the church door buzzer sounded. Door was unlocked, but the poor fellow at the door did not know this. I went to the door and found a distressed looking fellow, probably early 30s, shabbily dressed, wearing shoes that were barely on his feet. He carried a plastic bag that likely contained all he owned. His English was extra poor. He told me he needed a pair of shoes. The Salvation Army is not too far from our church and I gave him directions. Looking back I should have taken him there. I asked him if he was hungry and he nodded his head that he was. I gave him some cash, he thanked me and went off towards Sally.
Some will say they would never give anyone a ride anywhere, nor give a person like that money as he should get a job like the rest of us. I used to judge in that way, but don't anymore. I am far from perfect, but have compassion in my heart for those living on the streets. Yes, many suffer because we don't know who is legit and who is scamming. Sometimes you have to step out and take a chance and help someone in need. If I had the money I would establish a pantry/clothing center and a soup kitchen to address the visible increase of street people in my area. Some will call me crazy, that bothers me little. 

Ken Smith adds:

You were right to provide assistance. Not necessary to give a large sum, but give enough that your heart tells you it was right. In Seattle street bums are a nusiance and one never knows whether the money will go for booze or a sandwich. It's easy to get around this. Carry a pocket full of quarters or half-dollars, according to your means, and give to anyone who asks.

I was giving a dollar to a fellow with a territory adjacent to the entrance of a book store. I don't go to that store so often the dollar would break my bank.

Then a substitute was at the site, using the territory on the guy's day off. She and I talked about Toynbee and during the conversation the guy's name who owned the territory came up. Her face flushed red at the mention of it. She told me the fellow had treated her badly and more or less told her to stay off his territory. That was confirmed, as she had spoken to the staff in the store about it, asking them to intervene. Since then I have ignored the guy. Strange that a guy in sad circumstances would not have empathy. You'd think the circumstances would nurture sympathy for a fellow sufferer.


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