We are not Homeless

I went to the ghetto food court in the ghetto mall near where I work.  It was ghetto.  While I was sitting there, eating my food, a man came up to me and said he was homeless and that he hadn't eaten anything today and begged me to buy him a lunch.

I didn't know what to do.  I sort of froze.  I could have bought him a lunch.  Perhaps I should have.  One memory that almost instantly popped into my head was a similar time when Conrad and I first met, and a guy asked him to buy his lunch.  Conrad gladly did so.  Apparently this man often begged for lunches near this establishment, and the workers knew him.  They were upset at the guy for doing it, and they told Conrad he didn't have to buy the guy lunch.  Conrad said he didn't mind.

So, one of the thoughts that came into my head was that the owner of the establishment probably didn't like guys begging for meals inside his own restaurant.  I didn't want to encourage that sort of behavior, so I felt that I shouldn't buy this man lunch.

On the other hand, I can't bear the thought of someone going hungry.  It is literally painful to me to think about.  I don't like it.  I didn't want that man to go hungry.  I felt an obligation to buy him lunch.

I didn't buy him lunch.  I just kind of had an awkward look on my face and didn't really say anything until he gave up and walked away.  It was extremely uncomfortable for me.

I've thought about it much since that day, which was a few days ago.  I do not feel an obligation to correct all of the things which are wrong or unjust in this world, but I do feel an obligation to correct my share of them.  Not just problems that I personally may have caused, but a portion of the problems which are solvable with the extra income that I earn, which is above my living expenses.

I still don't know what would be the best way to react in the situation I found myself the other day.  I really don't.  I know that there are some programs out there to help homeless people and others who are struggling to put food on their tables.  I don't know very much about those programs, how accessible they are, or how well they satisfy the needs that are out there.  I have been meaning to learn more about that, but just haven't yet, out of laziness.

But there is one thing that I know for sure.  I have more than I need.  My income is more than sufficient to pay for my living expenses, plus Conrad's, and that's including double costs since I have a house and an apartment now.  I don't need all of the money that I earn.  But there are people who do need that money.  There are people who can't afford clothing, shelter, or food for themselves or their dependents.  There are people who do not have even the most basic of life's necessities.  I cannot live my life in good conscience knowing that there are so many lacking basic needs without doing something to ease their burden.

I can donate my money to organizations fighting poverty and hunger.  I can look into volunteer opportunities and see if there are any times that volunteers are needed that fit into my schedule.  I can educate myself on the efforts that are being made, here locally and globally as well.  And I can blog about it and hope that some of my readers are inspired to do the same.