Krisztina's Blog: Can You Spare Some Change?

"Can you spare some change?" It's a question most of us have been asked at one point or another. Whether it was back before the age of the cell phone, and someone was simply asking for change for the pay phone, or whether it was a homeless person on the side of the road, it's a question we are all familiar with.

My experiences with the question have varied from simple homeless people who were hoping for a meal to a man on the D.C Metro who had soiled himself and had a white powdery substance on his fingers and nose that I suspect wasn't flour. We have a tendency to let bad experiences shape our opinions more than the good ones, very mush so in the case with needy people.

But just what is it that constitutes a person as needy? Isn't it simply put that they need something. We all need something sometimes. Even I know what it's like to be hungry and not have enough money for groceries, or to have just enough money for groceries but not enough for anything else. With the rising culture clash and political bickering, it's easy for ignorant people to say things like, "The poor need to just get off of welfare and work. Why should I pay for them just because I make more money. I work hard for my money, etc., etc." The truth is there are different circumstances for different people.

I tend to think of our country in terms of a family. If one of my children for whatever reason ended up making a lot of money, while the other was struggling (but trying), I would be proud if one of them had the compassion and selflessness to help the less fortunate one out. Better yet, let's say we were all headed to the dinner table, and there was only enough to go around. What if one of the kids was sick and couldn't move as fast, while the other was healthy and fast and made it to the table first. What a shame it would be if the faster one took as much as they could and watched the other child sit there hungry and without food. Now let's face it, I know there are mean and lazy people out there who just want a free ride and let's face it, just want more drugs or whatever it is they're hooked on. But I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about the needy people we may overlook simply because the bad ones left a bad taste in our mouth. I'm talking about the ones we walk by and shake our heads at and avoid eye contact with because we don't want to be bothered. I'm not saying you have to go around throwing cash at everyone with an "I Will Work for Food" sign. I'm more into donating clothes and food to donation centers and food banks so I know my money is going to something productive.

Still when I was approached last week with the simple question "Can you spare some change?", I did, and I felt really good about it. I was walking out of the Dollar Store, while a man approached me. It was in broad daylight, and there were many adults around, otherwise I may have busted out some pepper spray. When I let down my guard and looked this man in the eyes, my gut told me he was kind. Turned out he wasn't even homeless. Maybe he needed bus fare on the way home from work. Either way, he was mortified just to be asking. I realized I actually had a dollar bill and some change on me. He became even more embarrassed when I proceeded to give him the dollar as well.

"I normally don't do this," he said, "I have a refrigerator full of groceries but no more money." I could tell by his appearance that he was simply working middle class.

"I get it, man. I've been there so many times," I said. I didn't want him to feel any more embarrassed than he already did, so I gave him a quick smile and said "You're welcome. No problem!"

I suppose the moral of the story is that the next time you see someone in need, don't put up a wall. Make eye contact, engage with that person, and see if they have a genuine need that just maybe you could help fill. Spare some change, offer a blanket to a homeless person out in the cold, drop off some muffins for the neighbor whose kids are always in torn up clothing.

Comments

  1. Lovely... and bravo. I have felt urges to give money and I try to give what I can in other ways through charities too. I've been meaning to load several Tim Horton's gift cards and keep those to give when I'm approached when someone says they're hungry.

    Thanks for sharing and encouraging.
    xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenn. Oh, that's such a great idea with the gift cards!

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  2. I've found that giving to organizations like the United Way, the Salvation Army, or foodbanks tends to be the most useful way. And also to treat someone in that state like a person... not someone to be disregarded.

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  3. I've been there too, Krisztina. I never asked people on the street for anything, but I did have to seek assistance. Collin and I were fortunate to have found what we needed when we needed it--God was looking out for us. And I met some wonderful people--and one of my best friend--in that search for help. Everything happens for a reason!

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