Today, I went to town with the idea that I would help someone who is actually in need.
I rarely get out of the house (once a week for grocery shopping).
Over the last few months, I've decided that even though I have no current reliable income (freelance programming) I do have some savings and there are people out there that could really use a leg up.
So I went into town ( Charlottesville, VA ) with the idea that I would find someone who was homeless and help them out. I also wanted to do some browsing at the book store.
On my way to the bookstore I saw someone huddled on the median with a sign noting they had no where to sleep so I parked nearby, walked over, and asked if they had at least a good sleeping bag.
He noted that he had three blankets but no sleeping bag so I asked if he had a hot meal recently and he noted that he did this very morning.
I hit the bookstore and then went and picked up a cold weather sleeping bag (it was 34F out) but he was gone by the time I got back to him...
So I headed down the main drag in the opposite direction and found an older man huddling on the median with a sign near a walmart.
I parked fairly close and asked if he had a sleepingbag... indeed he did. I then asked if he had a hot meal recently and he noted that he hadn't had anything to eat all day (it was 2pm) at that point so I asked him what kind of food he would like.
"Hamburgers" was the immediate response... so I told him to grab his things, get in, and I'd take him out to 5 guys burgers and fries and bring him back after we had eaten.
We spoke at length while we ate and it turns out he is 57, had worked as a general builder (foundations, framing, plumbing, electric), as a mechanic (up until computerized cars became the norm), and then he and his wife started a business that combined house cleaning with yard work .
Eventually, his wife got cancer so he used their savings to take her to places she had always wanted to visit. After she died he had someone living with him to make ends meet. They eventually left and he walked away from "his" property once the property taxes became more than he could afford... and so he became homeless.
I mentioned the main shelter in the area (Haven) and he noted that he had recently gotten in touch with them and was working on trying to get some kind of work.
I can only imagine how hard it must be in this day and age to get a job at the age of 57 with no college degree and no official home address.
Anywise, at the end of the day I managed to at least give someone in real need a hot meal and a little cash to help him out. In return I learned a lot about being homeless in Charlottesville, VA and got to meet someone who has lead an interesting life.
Ye olde athiest anarchist "church"
Rather than donate to someone running a registered government controlled non profit organization (many of which spend tons of money on larger buildings and very little on those in need) I just found someone in obvious need (sitting with a sign in freezing weather indicates need in my book) and hopefully made their day better... which made my month better as well.
Of course, I still have an extra cold weather sleeping bag so this coming week I plan to head back and try again.
When many cities are passing "ordinances" to chase out those who have the largest need of help I believe it is only right to go find these same people and give them a leg up.
Who cares if the "bum" you run across might potentially not need the help? Ignore the licensed media... and if you are doing well and can afford to do so, consider lending a hand to those in worse shape than yourself.
Food, drink, and shelter are not rights. They are things that charity is supposed to help with for those who lack them.
If we let "government" take over charity... then we will end up with soilent green.
Oh, right... the book I picked up was titled "I'm from the government and I'm here to kill you"... published by a lawyer who spent many years in high levels of government service. Excellent read so far and I recommend it to anyone that believes that "the government" really gives a @#$@#( about people.