Thursday, February 9, 2017

I don't have any weed

I'm on my way to my grandmother's funeral in Kansas.  I stopped for gas and realized that I must've left my wallet at the last gas station.  Could you spare some money for gas?

We're college students on our way home for the weekend and our car broke down.  Can you help us pay for a tow?

My organization is collecting money for homeless vets.

Do you have nineteen cents?

Got any weed?

I've experienced these requests, and many others, from random strangers in parking lots, sidewalks, etc.  In general, I don't trust them.  Except for that unwashed girl who asked for 19 cents and the guy who asked for weed.  Yeah, they both seemed pretty legit.

Do you give to panhandlers or random "charities"?  If so, do you research the charities, or does dropping cash into a jug with a label taped to it outside of Walmart seem like the right thing to do?

I'm generally suspicious of random solicitors of charities I've never heard of.  I would much sooner give to panhandlers who are, at least, honest about their situations and what they want the money for.

I gave some money to the girl who asked for 19 cents because (a) there was something very honest about her, which (b) made me genuinely care about her well being, and (c) who the heck asks for 19 cents?!  I still wonder about that encounter, sneakingly suspicious that she was a student at the ritzy private college downtown conducting some sort of social experiment.

There are plenty of sanctioned charities around that support homeless vets, disabled vets, abused women, banished teens, sick children, etc.  So I don't bother risking our charitable dollars going to someone like this panhandler who drove away in a Mercedes to her exclusive beach community.

As I read that story, I couldn't help but notice the stylin' hairdo on her poor little homeless kid

I'm thinking about these things because Meego's collecting money for a haircut that won't be all that stylin'.  It's "Bald 4 Bucks" time at the high school.

This has grown into quite a large annual event with several teachers and students getting their heads shaved and raising tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Participants carry around donation collection cans for about a month, and then hand over the proceeds for a quick sit in the barber chair.

Some may recall that Wolfgang went baldo 4 or 5 years ago at that year's event.

In fact, Meego didn't even make his own collection can.  He just asked if I knew where Wolfgang's was, and I directed him to the box that I threw a buncha junk lovingly placed cherished mementos into during the recent painting of the bedroom.

I mean, he didn't even put his own name on it.  It still has Wolfgang's...

Despite this glaring lack of originality, the can has been filling up more each day.  I wondered about him carrying this can-o-money around school everyday, but he assures me that it's all part of the process.  Okay, fine.  But I gave to the online donation page.

I trust it.


Linking up again with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: trust


LL Cool Joe said...

I always feel that you have got to be pretty desperate to beg for money. If you've got it would you be begging on streets corners? I dunno. I see quite a few guys in AZ standing on crutches by the side of the traffic lights and often people do roll down their windows and give them money. I'd rather give mine to an organised charity.

John Holton said...

When I was in college, there was a guy who would stand outside the train station and ask people for twelve cents. Maybe he figured most people wouldn't have the two pennies and give him a nickel and a dime.

I'm all for giving money to guys who look like they're down on their luck. I used to travel to Los Angeles and stay in Santa Monica, where they have a lot of homeless guys. One night one of them asked if I had a cigarette as I was headed to 7-Eleven. I bought the guy a pack and gave them to him. Another night there were about five guys hanging around and one came up and asked for money so he and his friends could get something to eat. I felt to give them ten bucks, and they were really grateful for it, and were still saying "Thank you sir! God bless you!" when I was a block away. New York, on the other hand, I'm a little less generous, because I get the sense they're not as hard up for money as they try to come off.

As for charities, I'm a little more cautious and check them out.

Anonymous said...

I lived in a city where it was pretty common to be approached for change. I gave it if I had it. Yeah, maybe they spent it on alcohol and maybe not. My hope was in some small way I made their day better.

Marcy said...

Ha ha, funny opening. I got swindled out of $20 one time on the street, and I didn't give again for a long time. Now I'm back to sometimes giving and sometimes not. My husband's gone bald a few times for St. Baldrick's. It's a fun way to contribute.

Abby said...

We have our fair share of corner-sitters too. They're there for hours each day. I wonder how much they get.

Abby said...

I thought the girl asking for such a small and specific amount might actually end up with more money per day with that strategy rather than just the "anything helps" line.

Here in our city, we have three large non-profits that offer food, shelter, and all kinds of aid to the needy, and probably many other smaller ones. So I'm always a bit suspicious of random panhandlers.

Abby said...

I've just heard so many stories of "professional beggars" that live higher on the hog than we do. It's tough to know, so we just give to the well known charities.

Abby said...

Wow, $20 is generous.
St. Baldrick's is a fun thing, and it's really turned into a big event at the school with large groups of kids getting each other to participate together. My kind of peer pressure!
I'm particularly impressed with the girl students and women on the staff who go "under the razor"!

ShadowRun300 said...

We have so many panhandlers downtown, and I ignore them all. I did give a kid a couple of bucks one time for cleaning my windshield at a gas station. (I shocked myself by actually letting him do it. Nobody touches my car....) I suppose I figured he was at least trying to work for it.
Hats off to Meego and friends - especially the girls! I'd donate to him. Maybe even a little extra for recycling and reusing. :)

Carol said...

One day my husband and I learned a lesson. Some panhandlers aren't very appreciative. We were driving down a busy street and noticed a man with a sign asking for help. We could have given him money, but we didn't. We had a box of fresh fruit from our orchard and handed him some. We had only gone down the road 50 feet or so and watched as he threw the fruit to the side of the road. Never again!! If they just want your money, they are usually needing to support a habit, nothing else. I'm not going to give my hard earned money to an addict.

Morgan Cartwright said...

I don't give money to panhandlers. I think this is because I see some of them in our office getting food stamps. There is one guy that I see every morning coming into work. Sometimes I wave to him, sometimes I give him food, but I don't give him money. I work in a family support office that is located in an impoverish part of the city, we see lots of refugees and occasionally an actual homeless person. (Most homeless go to the office downtown) There are also different levels of homeless, which I can go on and on about.

I don't really give money to charities or to go fund me accounts. I do give time though. I like helping out and making meals for Ronald McDonald House. I've raised money for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge. I would donate to your son for his cause. I think those are all good ones.

Abby said...

That windshield cleaner probably pegged you as a soft sell. Little did he know...
Yes, I'm sure it's Meego's commitment to the environment that motivated his choice of collection can!

Abby said...

Wow, well now you know.
I encounter some panhandlers during my bicycle commutes and most are friendly enough, but not all. There's probably some mental disability and/or addiction going on with some.

Abby said...

Not everyone has a lot of disposable income to donate to charities, but time is valuable too. I've taken food to one of our homeless shelters. It's (understandably) in a crappy part of the city, but the volunteers there are of the nicest people I've ever met.

KatBouska said...

Aw, I love that Meego is getting involved for such a great cause! I recently gave money and treats to a woman on a street corner with a child. I felt so sad for the child, but immediately after I left a man who appeared to be the father came out of a store and they all went through the bag together. I definitely feel suspicious of that one and will not give money to people using kids to stand with them for money. If anything I should have called child protective services instead.

Andrea Mowery said...

I once offered a homeless man a meal that I was bringing home to eat, and he scoffed at me. I don't give to people holding signs anymore. But if someone approaches me and asks for money in a pinch (like the woman who forgot her wallet at home or the gal who needs 19 cents) I will help out. I usually will say "okay" to the grocery store checker who asks if I'd like to donate a dollar to the veterans/children's hospital/cancer society.