Home is where the heart is!

We’ve all heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” I would like to think the saying is true, but this is not what’s happening in societies of many civilized countries around the world. When it comes to our own local humanitarian efforts, we all are accountable individually for our actions as we support or neglect humanitarian aid. Let’s zoom in on the homeless and the hungry for a moment.

I’ll give you a surprising example about how some people view this matter at home and abroad. A homeless man is sitting on the street corner holding a cardboard sign. He is dirty and ragged and hungry. His hair is long and oily, and his teeth are rotting. His clothes are torn and soiled, and his unshaven face looks weathered. Mr. Homeless Guy asks the walkers for money but the people pass by him and look the other way. They act like they don’t see him sitting there. Nobody stops to talk to him and no one buys him lunch. Very few individuals attempt to find spare coins to hand him. Some of the people are disgusted by the spectacle of the grubby guy sitting on their neighborhood street. He makes them feel uncomfortable. Why do people hurry by the homeless guy without a care for him?

Fast forward a couple of hours. The people who ignored the homeless man return to their houses from an afternoon of shopping, dining, and running errands. Comfortable in their surroundings, they turn on the television. A TV commercial asks for humanitarian aid: “Help feed the starving people in country XYZ.”

The people who shunned a hungry man in their home town are now saddened by the view of hungry people they see on television. “I want to help those people who live 5,000 miles from me” so they send $100 bucks to assist in the effort. Maybe they commit to a $20 dollar reoccurring monthly donation.

The same uncaring people, who didn’t have a dollar to spare for the nasty looking hungry man in their home town, freely send money to fund “non-profit” organizations that tell you they help people over-seas. They also give money in church collection baskets, bring free household items to Goodwill, and donate can & dry storage goods to their local food panty. Why didn’t they help the man in front of their eyes and face?

If they don’t care about the one local homeless hungry person on their city sidewalk, why do they care about organizations that care about the hungry people? Can anyone please explain the rationale behind this type of thinking?

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  1. #1 by Jessica Brant on May 9, 2011 - 1:59 am

    I think people who give to organizations feel as if th funds are going to the people via medical, food, shelter, clothing, housing, ect…. If the homeless person is i their own back yard it is just a bit to close for home not to mention in America we assume because we live in the land of the free and are able to earn money why can’t the dude on the corner… If we give him money he’ll just buy booze, or drugs. “he’s a lazy bum, he has two arms two legs he can get a job.” I know because that is how feel….. Not that I send money over seas, because I do not….
    That is my two cents

    • #2 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 7:50 am

      Hi Jessica –

      I have felt, thought, and acted exactly as you describe in your comments. In my past, I have given money to these people but there are so many times where I didn’t do a thing to help them. Afterwards, I feel bad about my decision or failure to act. I really don’t know what they do with the small cash I give them. I assumed the worst and made my decision based on my assumption. I am wrong for thinking this way. I suppose that if they need food, I should buy them lunch instead of giving a couple of dollars if I think they’re going to scamper over to buy a pint. I just donno! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. #3 by Rimly Bezbaruah on May 9, 2011 - 3:08 am

    It is not only in America but here in India too. Charity should begin at home at home. It is easier to send money for faceless people than one in your neighborhood. They are too close for comfort. In India a lot of people discourage begging because they feel these people should work instead of begging. But beggars earn more than any laborers here.

    • #4 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 7:33 am

      Hi Rimly –

      During one of my master degree programs, I did a paper on non-profit organizations. Through my research, I proved to myself some of the negative things that I had suspected was going on but never saw any data in the past to back up my theory. These organizations are one of the great corporate cons going on in business around the world. Unsuspecting every day citizens have a view of these organizations are being wholesome and all about charity. While these non-profits do supply aid to those people in need, what people don’t understand is that when they donate $100, not all that money goes to (i.e.) feeding someone. Non-profit means their service doesn’t generate an income and they can do what ever they want with the monies donated…and they can do it tax free! The chain of command that manages them are rewarded handsomely for their efforts! Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  3. #5 by yogini20 on May 9, 2011 - 4:00 am

    This is really pathetic to see to see these things happening around us and even we sometimes do this kind of stuff..
    People should really give a thought over this issue.

    • #6 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 7:16 am

      Hi Yogi –

      It’s very sad to witness. I have spent time thinking about this issue since I was in my college. There were a lot of homeless in the town I did my undergraduate studies in (Dubuque, IA). Most of the time I did nothing. I had no money when I was in college and the little money I had, didn’t last me long. My thinking has changed since then, gladly. Thank you for commenting :).

  4. #7 by tinkerbelle86 on May 9, 2011 - 9:42 am

    this is such a good point, and charity should begin at home before we worry about everyone else. spare a thought, and remember how cold it gets at night

    • #8 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 10:02 am

      Hi Laura –

      Thank you for reading me. Charity should begin at home but when we’re starring it straight in the face, as in my scenario, most of us blow right past it. I think it’s because we want other people, other organizations, to deal with it. I’m guilty of this and it bothers me why I have done this in the past. I’ve helped out a lot, but I haven’t helped out nearly as much as I should. I refuse to contribute to international organizations and the cans sitting on checkout counters. I won’t drop money in buckets where Santas ring bells although I used to. No more. I’m not helping to pay people’s salaries, corporate events, marketing efforts, company vehicles, and holiday vacations for the management that operate non-profits. That doesn’t work well for me. Good comments. 🙂

  5. #9 by pissykittyslitterbox.com on May 9, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    I’m glad you brought attention to this. I notice it in the big city a lot near here, where I used to live. And they always have the same excuse that they’re afraid the person wanting the hand-out is either running a big con and/or is just too lazy to get a job and support his/herself. I’m always quick to point out that the majority of the people on the streets are there because of mental illness, can’t get monetary assistance to live or medication to treat it because they have no address, and can’t get an address because they can’t hold down a job without meds long enough to save up the money for one. It’s a vicious cycle. And really, what does it matter what they do with it once you give it to them? The Lord says to give from your heart and you’ll be blessed. He doesn’t expect you to run interference first to find out how they’re going to use it.
    I have to admit, I’ve also given to the ones that I know don’t need it. There was a guy in town that used to sit at a busy intersection with a sign that read, “I need beer! Why lie?” You’d be surprised how many people stopped to give him a handout that had the same reaction as I did. “Dude, I feel for ya. Sucks when you’re dry, huh?” Hey, I loved his honesty!

    • #10 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 1:03 pm

      Hi Kitty –

      You mentioned, “The Lord says to give from your heart and you’ll be blessed. He doesn’t expect you to run interference first to find out how they’re going to use it.” Excellent point! And this is something that bothers me as it applies to how I confront certain situations like the one above. I am with error.

      I thought about some of the things you mentioned above. Mental instability is largely that focus. Surely, a large percentage of these people feel doomed and don’t know how to get out of this rut. Good post Kitty. 🙂

    • #11 by Jessica S on May 9, 2011 - 2:45 pm

      “The Lord says to give from your heart and you’ll be blessed. He doesn’t expect you to run interference first to find out how they’re going to use it.”

      I think this is a biggy, especially when it comes to giving money to family. 😀

  6. #13 by Jessica S on May 9, 2011 - 12:34 pm

    “Why do people hurry by the homeless guy without a care for him?”

    Depending on the area you’re in, some cities will give tickets to those who give beggars money. If you pick up a hitch-hiker, you can also get into trouble. While this may seem absolutely awful, the reality is that sometimes these people are only pretending to be homeless.

    Do a study on this. While there are many legitimately homeless and desperate people out there, there is also an astonishing number of people who actually make a living by sitting on the street in tattered clothing with cardboard signs.

    Because this is a problem, here is what my husband and I do: If they are asking for money to eat, rather than give them dollars and coins, go buy them a “to go” meal and bring it to them. If they are asking for a ride, go buy them a bus ticket to where they want to go. If they say they are homeless and looking for a job, buy them a hotel room (cheap is okay, so long as it has a shower) for a night or two (whatever you can afford) and buy them a gift card to a local clothing or second-hand store for clothing.

    It’s hard for homeless people to change their situation when prospective employers only see a dirty, tired, tattered figure in front of them. This is not the way it SHOULD be, but that’s the way it is. So, feed them and allow them a short repreive to rest, clean up, and find employment. Three days in a Motel 6 may sound like misery to you, but it will probably sound like heaven to them (if they are truly in need).

    Granted, most of us couldn’t afford to this for more than one or two people. However, imagine if we ALL did this for one or two people. Those one or two people could then do it for one or two more people once they get on their feet. The benefits would be exponential. 🙂

    • #14 by Jessica S on May 9, 2011 - 12:38 pm

      Oh, I forgot something. When you buy them a few days at a hotel, also put two loaves of bread and large jar of peanut butter on their bed to find. It’s cheap to buy, but it will last them for a couple of days. 🙂

      • #15 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 1:17 pm

        Huh…no grape jelly? You need to write a book, Jessica. No, not a book about bargain shopping or free-lance writing. Those might be good reads though. Maybe a book about “giving and sharing?” That could be an excellent read and great for the soul-writer in you ;). 🙂

        • #16 by Jessica S on May 9, 2011 - 2:44 pm

          LOL. I almost put grape jelly, and then deleted it… Not really sure why, but I did. Ha-ha! The other thing I should have put was a butter knife. Gonna be a messy sandwich experience!

          I am writing a few books right now, actually. All about murder and mayhem in the streets. Hehe–just kidding. I’m writing three books right now, two non-fiction and one fictional.

          Why don’t YOU right a book? You’re busting at the seams with amazing ideas. 😀

          • #17 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 3:10 pm

            Jess, I eat 2-3 peanut butter sandwiches every day. At night between reading blogs and posting, I made a sandwich. I had one slice of bread in my hand and covered it with peanut butter. It flipped out of my hand, fully loaded face down on to my counter top. I stared at it and knew this would not end up a pretty sight. Of course, the sticky peanut butter clunk to the top but the bread came off in bits and pieces, lol. I took a spatula to get up the rest, pressed it back together the best I could, and devoured it. I made another one immediately and that sandwich was much prettier, haha. They both tasted the same! 😉

          • #18 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 3:15 pm

            Oh, about me writing a book. I’ve tried a couple of times in the past. I lost 79,000 words and 38-39,000 words to computer crashes. I know I know…back files up. I told you I am no computer administrator, lol. I’m really not.

            Another issue with me and writing a book, is that I have wild stallion tendencies when I write. I am King Tangent and my work goes astray. Sometimes this leads to new and improved ideas that work well. Half of my blogs are not where I started and end much better as the result. Longer works, like a 100k novel, pray for me and have patience. My God,,,because I will certainly need a whole lot of that hahaha. 🙂 My brain goes so much faster than my mouth and fingers!

    • #19 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 1:14 pm

      Jessica the freelance writer. Hello!

      When I was drafting my post, I tangent off into many directions. I spent a while on one of the directions you mentioned above. Some are con artists but that is a small percentage in comparison to those who really do need humanitarian assistance. Many of these lost souls are confused and don’t know what to do.

      Giving the hungry/homeless people food and clothing is obvious in my decision-making process. What you say here I never considered. You said, “If they are asking for a ride, go buy them a bus ticket to where they want to go. If they say they are homeless and looking for a job, buy them a hotel room (cheap is okay, so long as it has a shower) for a night or two…” This kind of giving is special and you never know what kind of revelations will be presented to the lost person who has a bed and a shower for a night. We can’t answer that question but we can lend a helping hand as you’ve shown us.

      BTW, do you have any older sisters hahaha. Amazing post! 🙂

      • #20 by Jessica S on May 9, 2011 - 2:41 pm

        I do have an older sister, but she’s still in her twenties, too. LOL

        • #21 by charlie nitric on May 9, 2011 - 2:55 pm

          Oh NO, she didn’t call me old, did she ;). Hahaha ^5!!!!!!!!!! BTW, I was in your site checking on comments from the carnival and saw your “Brand” post. I read and commented. I think you posted it when I was snooping around there, lol. Good post by the way. I like it. 🙂

  7. #22 by john tugano on May 16, 2011 - 6:24 am

    if we really would wanted to help,we should not choose to whom we would lend our hands.if we have enough and by chance we stumbled onto someone who we feel is needy,we should not hesitate,
    There should be charity regardless of the distance,they maybe far,near or wherever they are we should always try to help..very nice post..

    • #23 by charlie nitric on May 16, 2011 - 7:44 am

      Hi John –

      Good comments and I agree with you. There are many who need help and as long as we can I identify a true need, we should do what we can to assist. Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  8. #24 by Nelieta on June 5, 2011 - 3:18 pm

    Hi Charlie, loved this post! I have seen a lot of corruption in South Africa. For example a woman that I know very well looked after orphans. She got donations for clothes for the children. She often cloth her own children first and then give the leftovers to these children. Needless to say she is not looking after children any more because the wheel turns. To come back to my post. When I heard that Cor is not accepting any money I knew his intentions were genuine. That I admire!

    But you are so right. We tend to look the other way and ignore what is going on around us. There are so many opportunities out there to help the ones in need. All we need to do is to find the opportunities!

    Great post!

    • #25 by charlie nitric on June 5, 2011 - 5:23 pm

      Hey Nelieta –

      Here’s why people are so anxious to drop quarters into Santa’s bucket at Christmas time and why so many people are eager to send donations far away. These reactions make them feel like they are helping out and make them falsely feel better about them selves. This require no commitment and action on their part. Since they donated to a can or mailed money to another corrupt international organization where major players earn $500,000 dollars a year (there is no such thing as non-profit), it makes it much easier to ignore the homeless person on their street corner. “I gave at the office,” is easily justified now. Thank you for reading me and for commenting. 🙂

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