Picture originally uploaded by Ed Yourdon
Everyday on my stroll to and from work I see the same people along my way. Not the ones walking with their business suits on and their Starbucks coffee cups in hand, and no, not the bus drivers, train engineers, or any other same old people. The people that I see are on the ground, sitting or sleeping on cardboard, wrapped up in rags, holding up signs for food or money, or just hobbling along with no place to go. Some are even disabled and in wheelchairs. The only thing they have left to do in their day is to ask or sometimes even beg for money or food and hope for the best.
My heart skips a beat everytime I pass one of these people. Sometimes I pray that they don’t see me or talk to me because I know that I will not have the guts to pass them a dollar or two. I feel guilty every single time I pass one of these people because just like you and I, they have lives too. They are people, and they have basic needs in life. They are simply unable to provide for themselves. It always leads me to thinkingabout what caused them to be homeless in the first place. For some, it may have been a death in the breadwinner of the family. It may be lack of education to get a decent job. It may be laziness, drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, or any number of addictions in this sick world of ours. It could be layoffs from the recent economic struggle. Whatever the reason, it always leads me to thinkingthat someone should be doing somethingabout these people because they can’t just be left to roam the streets with nothing: no shelter or food. I mean, come on now…the government literally gives away houses, food, and money to people who are undeserved: people who have done absolutely nothing in life but sit around and have babies for a living just so that they could live off of welfare, food stamps, and government housing. It’s sad and pitiful, but true!
Sometimes I slap myself, not literally, but figuratively, for not thinking of a solution to this problem. I slap myself for not helping someone myself, for not placing someone in a shelter, or taking someone in, or helping them find a job, for simply not doing anything at all! How can this be for someone to be so kind and giving, but yet not help someone who is truly in need? After all, what would Jesus do?
Well I can tell you what constantly holds me back from helping a homelesperson in need. I have no idea where my money or resources are going. Some of the homeless have addictions: like smoking, drugs, and prostitutes. If anyone knows me personally, they know that I DO NOT support any negative habits, especially smoking! Smoking pollutes the air, damages the lungs and other internal organs, and is altogether bad for people, yet people constantly puff on them like they’re candy sticks! It’s disgusting! Secondly, once you give a homeless person money, they think they can keep depending on you every single day to get money out of you. Just think about it. You work 5 days a week and let’s say you give one homeless person $1 per day. In one month you’ve already spent $20. By the end of the year you will have spent $240. Technically, this is donating to “charity” so can you write this money off? Hmmm…..good question. But if you give to every single homeless person you see on the way to work, you could be broke before you know it. Besides, how can you tell who to give to and who not to give to? As an extremist, it’s all or none and more often than not, I choose none!
My point in writing all this is simply to say that something needs to be done about the homeless, not just in Philly, but everywhere. It all starts with you and me, but where that start is, I don’t necessarily know. I definitely have mixed feelings about starting the venture alone and putting my hard earned dollars into it. But then again, how successful will you be in a new venture if you don’t first put forth the effort required? Think about it.