Tuesday, April 7, 2009

beggars and soup

I often get stopped by people asking for money when I'm out shopping. Last week, I made a quick trip to rainbow and on my way out of the store, a guy asked me if I could spare three dollars. I told him I'd buy him some food from the store, because I'd heard that was a good way to make sure the money isn't spent on alcohol or drugs. He didn't seem too crazy about that idea, and told me he wanted the money for mcdonalds. I was still reluctant but before I could say anything else, a woman who had overheard us came up and told him she'd give him the money. But it turned out all she had were a few coins, so he turned to me again. This time, I just gave him the money because I didn't want to seem stingy or condescending. As I drove out of the parking lot, I saw him walking toward mcdonalds and was glad he was telling the truth, but then he walked past the door and to somebody's car window to ask them for money. I don't know whether or not he ended up going to mcdonalds.

I'm not sure I did the right thing because he was so quick to turn down my offer to buy him food at the grocery store. That made me think he might not have been so interested in using the money for food. I would hate to refuse him if he truly did need it for food, but there's no way of knowing. I want to be able to help, but not if my money is just going towards drugs or alcohol. That encounter made me wonder if a lot of other people, like that woman, are willing to give money without asking questions, and then does it even matter what I do personally?

I don't always give money when asked. It depends on the situation. I give it when I feel bad or sometimes when they are particularly persistent, just to make them quit asking. I should probably stop doing that because it's just reinforcing the behavior. I've only tried to buy food for people twice, and it didn't work either time. I guess if I really wanted to help, I could refuse to give cash unless I know what it's going towards and instead make donations to or volunteer at a shelter or something. Anybody have any ideas for how to deal with people asking for money?

I got some noodles, seaweed, and spices from the asian market near my house, and I'm going to try to make some ramen-like soup tonight. I'm not exactly sure how to season it, but I'll start with my "asian spice blend" and maybe throw in some soy sauce, ginger, or some veggie broth. A hot noodle soup sounds so satisfying right now. Also on my list of things to make is seven-bean soup. The bag of pre-mixed beans was so colorful and pretty at rainbow I couldn't resist buying it. I hope it's as beautiful after it's cooked and I suppose I should try to make it taste good too.

Speaking of making things, I was digging through my fabric and got some ideas for bags to make. I started one over the weekend and should be able to finish it sometime this week. I like making purses/bags because they are fast and pretty easy. Getting the fabric and doing the designing is what I like, and the sewing is just a necessary step in order to get the finished product. With practice, though, it will get easier and hopefully I won't mind so much.

Ok, soup time!


  1. This one time I was asked for money by a woman on the street. I gave her an apple instead of money. She gave me this look like I was insulting her.

    I've heard stories of people that beg for money for a living, and live in houses in the suburbs. I think most of the people asking for money on the street don't really need it. Between the salvation army, food shelves, and homeless shelters; they should mostly be taken care of by the government.

  2. Michelle,

    What a sensitive sweetheart you are. My experience with pan handlers is that they do indeed need money, but they are using it for booze. I tell them to hop a bus and head for the Union Gospel Mission or the Dorothy Day Center. It's a way to show compassion for their circumstance, since if they truly need help these two places are equipped to really get them on their feet. Unfortunately if they are alcoholics and can't stay off the booze they are not allowed services at either of these places. It's nice to be kind hearted....but don't be an enabler.