Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Can You Spare a Dime?

One disadvantage of living in a big city is witnessing numerous homeless people. On a normal day in a four block radius, I could pass 5 to 6 homeless people asking for money in more ways than one. We have scammers sitting in wheelchairs begging for money, and around 5:00 pm a Cadillac comes to pick them up. Then you have those entertaining you by playing a trumpet or guitar, and those with signs saying, ‘money for a warm hotel room,” or just standing with a cup asking if you can spare a dime. We also have those who sell StreetWise, a weekly newspaper designed to help the “severely impoverished men and women out of poverty.” By my work, there’s a handicap man that stands all day on the corner selling StreetWise. He’s there before I even get to work and into the mid-afternoon.

It’s difficult knowing who to give to and whether you should or not. In an interview with Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, Barkley said, “"And he (Jordan) told me 'If he can say Do you have any spare change, he can say Welcome to McDonalds. Can I take your order please?'” Well, I don’t agree with Mr. Jordan, but it’s his right to give or not. Sure, there are those who scam the innocent out of money or are lazy, but there are those who cannot work due to being mentally disabled or handicapped with no one willing or able to guide them. For me, I do give to the homeless when I can, mainly those doing something for the money, such as entertaining or selling StreetWise, but I can’t and won’t refuse a veteran asking for money.

I decided to write about ‘sparing a dime’ because I see the homeless faces every day and feel they deserve an acknowledgement. It’s a reminder to me and others that there are many less fortunate than us, and I see it five days a week in the faces of the forgotten or lost. This time of year is a good time to think about what you’re thankful for and of the less fortunate.

Sleep well, world, I'll be thinking of you.


  1. Thoughtful post. I can't walk three blocks from my apartment without encountering several beggars, and I constantly struggle with how and when to give. I've started throwing granola bars in my purse to have on hand when people tell me they're hungry (and sometimes they want them and sometimes they don't), but occasionally I just give cash. Our church has given us these pouches to hand out too, which have McDonald's gift certificates, change for a phone call and directions to nearby shelters, which I think is a great idea. But yes, it's a hard thing.

  2. It is sad that there are so many, and everyone has a right to give or not to give. I like what your church does. Very good idea. I think I'll be throwing granola bars in my bag appreciate it. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. We often do not know the details of others' circumstances, and this is the season for kindness and gratitude. I like Rachel's idea of granola bars, and the church's idea is especially great. Change for the phone call might inspire one of the homeless to reach out to someone close.

  4. Nice post. I also feel that giving is a personal choice, but the feeling you get when you do give is wonderful.

  5. Joanne, thanks for stopping by. I become sentimental this time of year.

    Turkey, it is a wonderful feeling to know you giving will let someone know they matter.