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    What's Your "Philosophy" on Giving to the Poor?

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    Reed Benson

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    What's Your "Philosophy" on Giving to the Poor?

    Post  Reed Benson on November 29th 2017, 5:00 am

    Basically, if you see a beggar on the sidewalk or the side of the road, do you give him/her anything? Change? A gift card? Do you actually stop and talk to him/her? Or do you only give online or to organizations you can do due diligence on?

    My wife is stingy when it comes to giving handouts. She thinks most beggars in China are fake. But my pastor back home recommends giving freely to everyone who asks, because it's more about your heart than what they're going to do with the money.

    I think about this a lot. I see beggars almost any time I got to the shopping areas of the city. If I'm with people, I feel awkward giving because I'm afraid they'll criticize me or feel obligated to give, too. If I'm alone, I might give something, but I almost always feel bad for not giving enough or for just giving money and not...I don't know, taking them home with me. (That would not go over well with the wife, I'm sure.)
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    Paeter
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    Re: What's Your "Philosophy" on Giving to the Poor?

    Post  Paeter on November 29th 2017, 10:11 am

    Oh man, what a great and yet complex topic for me!

    We've approached it a few different ways and I'm nowhere near feeling settled on what the right course is. In part because it often strikes me as a "case by case" issue, but also because my flesh and other variables get in the mix.

    First off, I almost never have cash on me, and in the rare case I do it is ear-marked for something specific. So cash giving is almost never even a consideration.

    In a few instances we've kept a freezer bag of essentials like water and dental care items to give out, but they usually get kicked around and trashed in our car before they can be given away.

    I was approached once outside a grocery store by a woman who said she needed money to buy diapers for her child at home. But when I asked the diaper size and offered to go in and buy diapers for her, she claimed she wouldn't be able to carry them all the way back home. I tried to troubleshoot with her, but it was quickly clear she was only interested in cash, not diapers.

    I've had a similar experience another time or two, met with the same result. My thinking is that if someone really needs a need met, if they are really in a tight spot, they will be willing to have that need met when I offer to meet it, instead of providing them with cash.

    Safety is also a concern. If I feel like helping them will require me to follow them somewhere, I'm out. So when they need "gasoline" and have no can to put it in, I just let them know I can't help them if they don't have something to put the gas in.

    In the rare case they would have a gas can, I think I would offer to put $2-$5 in their can to help them get somewhere safe for the night and suggest asking a gas station clerk or police officer to help them figure out where the nearest shelter is. At that point if they're lying to me it's on them and if not they've likely been equipped with at least a starting point to get their bearings and figure out how to handle the next day.

    Outside of that I don't really have more developed thoughts on the issue. Great topic though!


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