Sunday, January 08, 2006

Do you need money, or can I give you a ride?

Granny's post today: How To Help Without Money

Although my story today is somewhat unrelated, it is about an attempt to help out, to give without giving "money".

I remember a fellow hitting me up for some cash once. I was downtown in a church parking lot. I asked him what he needed the money for. He claimed: transit fare to the Greyhound station and enough money for a 1-way ticket to Red Deer (a city about 90 minutes north). I told him I would DRIVE him to Greyhound and PURCHASE a ticket for him because I didn't have any cash on me. He immediately pointed out the convenience of a bank - across the street - where I could get him some cash! You obviously see what I saw here, right? This fellow was rather persistent, so I decided to see how long he'd drag this out. I think I bantered with him for about 20 minutes as I scraped the windshield of my van and got ready to head for home. I told him flat out in no uncertain terms that I would not give him cash. He kept talking!

"Well, I live at the men's shelter and I'd have to get my stuff from the locker."

"So, let's go... I'll take you there. I have lots of time."

"Um. well, you see... they only allow us access to the lockers between 9 and 10 tonight"

"That's fine, it's 8:15, by the time we get there it will be only a short wait."

I guess I wore him down. He accepted my offer!

"I juuuussst need to get somethin' from the store, man."

"Sure, you run across and I'll pull up outside the store - we can go when you're ready."

I saw him run across the street and around the corner toward the front of the store. I pulled around to the front of the building. My newly found friend wasn't to be seen. I could see in the window and it was obvious he wasn't in the store. So, I paused for a few minutes in case he changed his mind, then I headed for home.

I'll help just about anybody, because I've often been on the receiving end of a good hand. I do, however, have a need to know that my hard-earned resources aren't being wasted on destructive endeavours.

Any stories to share?


Andrea said...

I dont have any stories like that but in Canada I did do lots of volunteer work for sports related events. Helping out the kids.
I have never been much into charity itself and more into physical volunteer work.
I have a hmmmmm link on my blog. A guy from Africa who is against charity. It is interesting. He makes some strong points. Still have not decided where I stand on what he says yet.

Chrystal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chrystal said...

I have been in a few situations in which I had people ask for money to buy food. I buy the food and one of two things usually happen. The person will just toss the food aside (sometimes to the ground) or the person lights up and sits down to eat. I know where you are coming from on this issue. There are people who need a hand, and I was one of them a long time ago.....and then there are others that abuse people's generosity and sympathy. I used the food bank when I was yonger and in need, now it is the charity I give to. What goes around comes around. There are people out there who sincerely need a helping hand sometimes. It is the people who lie and deceive who make is hard for people to trust that they are really HELPING someone instead of just supporting a bad habit.

Sarah Elaine said...

I have also been known to give food instead of money. My very first job was at a grocery store. We'd see the panhandlers come in once they'd collected enough money for the one thing they were after... a can of Lysol. I'm not quite sure how they did it... but we'd often find them passed out behind the store. So, like you, I often don't give money.

I do give of my time though... doing volunteer work.

And I give money to organizations and charity. I just don't give it to beggars. Mind you... I don't judge people who do give to beggars. Some of them can be pretty persuasive and lay the guilt trip on pretty thick.

Good story you shared!

Kim said...

much like you I'd prefer to actually give them a ride or buy the food. You know that 99% of the time if given money its going to support a drug or alcohol habit.

Granny said...

I offer the food or other help that doesn't involve money. What money I can spare goes to organizations.

Except for one time.

A man in San Francisco walked up to me and asked for help buying a bottle of wine because he was shaking and sick. I was so surprised that I said sure, I can understand that.

No con job, no "I have to get home to my sick mother in whereever" nothing except the unvarnished truth. "Hey, I'm about to go into the d.t.'s - can you help?"

While I was at it, I gave him the addresses for a couple of organizations and the times and places of some AA meetings.

About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.