Do you give to beggars?


Aug 25th, 2003, 05:12 AM
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Eventhough it is 5:45 Am and I have not yet had coffee, I will contribute once again to this intresting thread. Many years ago while working for a movie company in Century City, I ran into a nice supermarket on my lunch hour. Outside of the store was a young woman and a baby sitting on the ground asking for money. Exactly the type situation I had seen in Europe. She was very Eastern European looking. Once in the store, I could not stop thinking about the child. I grabbed diapers, milk, bread, fruit, cookies. I tried to think of things that did not have to be kept cool besides the milk. Upon exiting, the woman and child were still there with blankets all around them. I bent down to give the woman the groceries. She quickly in one motion swept them under her large skirt or maybe it was a blanket. I got a glimpse of piles of new food items already under there. She never skipped a beat the entire time. It was almost as if she was annoyed that I did not just give her money. I sure wanted to grab that poor child away from her.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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At the risk of sounding "holier than thou" (which I am, I assure you, most definitely NOT!), I give most of the time because I remember that Jesus can be in anyone, so what if the beggar you see on the street is really Jesus? I'd rather not take the chance that I've passed him by. Also, I lost a wonderful friend from high school a few years ago. He had a college education, a successful business and a lovely family. Then alcohol caused a quick spiral downward and he died homeless in his forties. I didn't know and couldn't save him. It showed that anyone can end up in dire circumstances--we can't stereotype.

Also, it only costs me a few bucks for piece of mind. Years ago, when I passed a few people by, I felt so lousy all day--and selfish.

However, I do ignore the "family" type (note I didn't use the word "gypsy" which tends to get one on trouble on this board) or those who are standing on freeway exits in nice leather jackets, freshly shaved and--if you look closely enough--have a Harley in the bushes

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Aug 25th, 2003, 03:31 PM
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Interesting thread!

In Paris, on the rue Galande, way up high on an old wall above the entrance to the Studio Galande, there is a very old and very small frieze depicting St. Julian the Hospitalier rowing Christ across the Seine. Christ appeared to him as a leper. I wouldn't go into the entire story of St. Julian, but the story is one of divine love and forgiveness, which we are urged to imitate.

Of course, Christ did not appear to him and say: "I am Christ, row me across". He appeared as a leper to test St. Julian.

I would suggest that every beggar you pass is a test of YOU.

For every supposed "rich" beggar living in a mansion in the suburbs, driving an expensive SUV, allow me to quote from the most recent National Geographic Magazine article (September, 2003), "21st-Century Slaves":

"Three billion people - nearly half the world's population - struggle to live on less than two dollars a day.

Dire need may lead the impoverished to sell all or part of their only assets: their healthy bodies or those of their children."

"It is hard to believe that slavery still exists. It may be harder still to accept that hundreds of millions of people face lives only a little more free, with only a few more choices. The poor and powerless often find themselves sacrificing their dignity, their children, even their own bodies, piece by piece, to a global market with an appetite for INHUMAN PROFIT."

"There are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The modern commerce in humans rivals illegal drug trafficking in its global reach - and in the destruction of lives".

"Roughly two-thirds of the world's captive laborers - 15 to 20 million people - are debt slaves in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal."

Beggars, at least, are FREE. Millions of beggars live on a precarious precipice, helpless to prevent themselves from falling into the abyss of slavery or death.

Do I give? Yes, as often as I can. When at church I give to the church, mindful always of the horrible abuse the various churches make of contributions. (Is my donation to a Catholic Church going to support a pedophile? Why do these Christian Evangelical groups on TV ask for $25/month donation when it takes only $5 to feed one person for a whole year, according to UN statistics?)

I give food, turkeys, etc. during the holidays.

I give to certain groups that are working social issues without a religious agenda as well.

I drop coins here or abroad, always remembering the admonition: "There but for the Grace of God go I." Without consideration of whether the person is playing an instrument, is strung out on drugs, carrying a baby - whatever. It is not my place to judge their needs. It is only my place to judge if I have enough to give or not.

Once, in India, a young woman came running up to our car when we were at a stop sign. I passed the smallest note I had to her. My Indian friend was aghast: "Why! You have given TOO much! That amount of money will feed her AND her baby for a week!" What did it amount to in US money? 30 cents? 50 cents? A whole dollar? I am glad I gave her enough to feed the two of them for a week. The gladness in my heart far, far exceeds the paltry amount I gave her. One may wonder who actually got more.

After reading this thread, I am in love with some of you more than ever: ThinGorjus, Scarlett, and many others - for your inner beauty that is shining through. Forgive an elderly man his moments of weakness!
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Aug 25th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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I always try to help someone in need. I have taken people to Zabars in Grand Central and fed them as much as they wanted. I give to pan Handlers, beggars and the like. I give what ever I can to people, I always try and put myself in their position. Perhaps if I were living on the street I too would try to vanquish the pain with liquor or drugs. I can't say what I would do if I were in that position.
I recently saw a man in of front of our local shoprite he was starving and eatting a loaf of bread. I slipped him ten dollars and told him to get something to eat. He asked for nothing I voluteered, I hope I didn;t insult him, he did go intot he store and buy soemthing else to eat. HE broke my heart and I stll cry just thinking of that man.
I also give to the local food bank here in Stamford and bring all of our old clothes to an organization that gives clothes to thoose in need and all old household goods go to Salvation Army. My mother always said it doesn't matter what the person does with what you give as longer as your intentions were good.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 05:14 PM
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mrsbu, you gave to a needy, not a panhandler. Like you I give clothes to a battered women's shelter.
Those who cannot control their lives are the needy.
The panhandlers are the lurkers looking for a free ride, who could work but more interested in staying high or drunk for fun.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 05:41 PM
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in response to your earlier message: "I can't help but be amazed that in a nation like ours, which touts itself as Christian, and attempts to impose those views on others, would find it so difficult to ask in cases like this, "What would Jesus do?" Try to apply many of the answers above to that question."


Just to clarify, our nation does NOT tout itself as christian and it never will. Didn't you ever hear of separation of church and state? Our nation would never and should never attempt to impose any christian or any other religion's views on it's citizens. That goes against the whole reason of our country's existance.

Also, I don't really know any jews, buddhists, or muslims who ask themselves what would jesus do before acting in any given situation.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 07:03 PM
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I do occasionally, depending on how pitiful they look. I'm a pushover for the ones sitting there with a dog lying beside them!
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Aug 25th, 2003, 10:20 PM
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I can't help but think of one woman with young childen we gave some money to one night -- I worried about the children being out so late. A few years later I read one of the childen died of neglect. I can't help but think I did more harm than good. Did I encourage her to misuse her children because she could use them to make money? She and her husband apparantly used most of their money they made by begging on drugs. After that, I decided to not support drug habits but to support shelters, soup kitchens and educational programs.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 10:33 PM
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What I find especially appalling are when the children are sent out to beg on their own. I've been on the subway in Brussels and been accosted by a child as young as five years old begging all alone. He got on the subway alone and left alone. This is absolutely criminal IMHO yet the Brussels police seem to be turning a blind eye to it.
There is one guy in Brussels who sits and begs with his shirt off and he looks like he's severely hunchbacked, sometimes he makes noises after he's speech disabled or perhaps retarded. But he's really a contortionist and a con artist. I've seen him go "off duty" at night and walk away perfectly normally with no hunchback, also talking normally to a "co-worker."
Then there's the guy walking up and down the Avenue Louise with his young son, asking for change to buy a phone card to call home for money.
Finally, there was a guy begging on the trams, saying that he had been a musician and the police had smashed his guitar. I don't know if that was true, but a a couple of months later, he was back on the trams, playing a new guitar. He was a pretty good musician!
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Aug 26th, 2003, 12:06 AM
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I will sometimes give to somebody who is very young and vulnerable looking.
Recently the authorities in Manchester have taken out an injunction against a local beggar. If he begs within the city centre he will be sent to gaol.
Other cities are considering the option. I think that with the Manchester man it's a last ditch attempt to make him undergo treatment for his drug addiction.

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Aug 26th, 2003, 02:44 AM
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I give sometimes, but always have a troubling thought in the back of my mind that maybe I am just prolonging the person's agony. Without a source of income, wouldn't these people get a job or obtain government assistance?

Beggar's make me wonder about the extensive social welfare system Europe is supposed to have. Is it really that good? Can people in true need depend and rely on it? I am also inclined to believe that most beggars are fakes who use the money on drugs, booze and hookers.

I'm not sure, so I give if the person looks sincere. But who can really tell?
And am I helping or hurting them by not practicing some tough love? I wish I knew the answer.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 07:16 AM
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BethGl and Mary-Fran raise interesting subtopics, i.e. What would Jesus Do? and is the US a Christian nation? I think Jesus would help those truly in need and cast out those that aren't. Unfortunately, most of us can't tell the difference, so giving to an agency with that expertise is the best way to see that money goes where it is needed, and con artists find real work. By giving to people on the street, I think we perpetuate con artists and probably perpetuate homelessness. As to whether the US is a Christian nation, I am not a student of history, but my sense is that much of the nation was founded by Christians or on similar principles. I don't understand why such principles (whether Christian, Jewish, Hindu, etc.) must be disowned. What I find odd is the people who try to white wash any reference or reverence to religion from our society. Somewhere along the line the freedom of religion has been interpreted as requiring a complete absence of religion, and separation of church and state has been interpreted to mean that not only are theocracies are banned, but that leaders with moral or strong religious beliefs should be belittled, prayer in school is bad, and that the ten commandments are inconsistent with modern jurisprudence.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 07:20 AM
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Aug 26th, 2003, 07:23 AM
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Here's another Amen, Bitter.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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bitter, triple amen. Well said.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 07:52 AM
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Bravo, Bitter !
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Aug 26th, 2003, 08:03 AM
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So true bitter. What's strange is the 10 commandments are on a plaque in the Washington supreme court and congress opens with prayers, yet others are not allowed to do likewise.
somethings wrong with this picture.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 08:24 AM
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... can we turn this ever so slightly political - by saying that giving to the people on the street has actually entered something of a golden age.

... the safety net is coming down, inch by inch, and we're walking the high wire of life with less and less of that comforting fall-back.

... increasingly, one slip promises a hard landing, harder with each new policy.

... for we are now faith based. Government is out, private initiative in. What is more local and private than your hand to the beggar's hand. Alms for the poor and homeless means less stress on government responsibility.

... thus, go forth and give, and if God is a conservative, you'll be justly rewarded one day. But if He's a great society hold-out, better bring along your Coppertone #45 - crispy time is ahead.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 10:50 AM
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What I find so ironic is that the same judge who wants to display the ten commandments, breaks the second one--I am the lord, thy god, thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Displaying a monument of these same commandments is as bad as worshipping the Golden Calf (graven image).

I also can't understand why Christians treat their religion like it is some Lexus or Gucci bag--on display so everybody can see it. Religion is NOT a status symbol.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 11:08 AM
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Who is thinsmorgus? Sounds like some excitable artsy-fartsy character who got canned as a part-time costume boy at a tiny rural community theatre in Iowa.

And pchsmiles, feeling blue about Davis being recalled? Check your facts.
Government spending and the size of government keeps growing every year. Both parties spend our money like drunken sailors on shore leave.
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