Thoughts on the Street Beggar


In a nutshell I am curious how others deal with the homeless begging on the corner of every shopping center in town. I understand times are tough and many are trying to make it for their families but how do you tell the difference between the professional street beggar and the one that is there out of circumstance.

I hate giving money to someone and having to worry they are just going to run out and buy smokes or booze. Boise, Idaho is such that there are many shelters and organizations that feed and provide shelter for the homeless so I struggle with handing money out my window to a stranger. I would much rather donate it to the local food bank or shelter to make the most of it. Plus handing money out the window seems so impulsive and to me that isn’t how we are supposed to be with our finances. I don’t know…

Any thoughts because I feel a bit callous about this whole thing.


Anonymous said...

I freely admit to being an idealist (not a callous cell in my body . . . ) but I love giving to beggars. I've even taken them out to lunch (rather than give them money.) I think it's what Jesus would do. I don't have much opportunity to do this, so I could see that my patience might wear thin if I was constantly exposed to it.

As for worry about what they do with the money . . . that is not a big concern for me, though I do think about it. I am giving to God not to the person, so it becomes God's business (and you can't out-give God.) The point is that the person begging received love from a stranger, which I feel is walking in Jesus' steps, being His hands and feet. Because, He does love them.

It's just a dollar or two and Jesus gets to express His heart through me . . . ? How cool is that?

Unknown said...

When my wife and I lived in Chicago, I rode the el to and from school downtown. During a class outing, a friend handed out a couple of apples to people asking for money.

She explained to them (and I, of course, listened in) that if they were hungry enough to ask for money, they were hungry enough to eat an apple. If they didn't want the apples, she simply kept them. That way, she felt helpful and the hungry were fed.

I've kept granola bars in my car glove box to take care of my own hunger pangs during long trips, and if someone is asking for help at off-ramps, I will hand one of the bars out the window. I haven't had one turned down yet.

Jason said...

Josh, that was an excellent story and a great idea. Today I was at the grocery store and there was someone on every entrance/exit and it is hard to see sometimes and I thought about giving out a can of food but didn't because I thought they may throw it back at me :-).

Fruit or a granola bar is a grand idea.


jeanette said...

hi. i stumbled upon your blog in hopes of finding wisdom for my brother who is separating from his wife and children are involved. i appreciate you sharing your stories here. i know they are a help and encouragement to others.

in response to your post "thoughts on a street beggar" ... i was reminded of the the (hillsong) movie trailer i saw earlier this spring