Lifetime of Giving

3 Ways to Responsibly and Compassionately Respond to Panhandling.  Very useful....everyone should read this :-)

During finals week, my teammates and I decided to get some late night sushi, and we saw this elderly, homeless woman standing outside of the restaurant asking any passerbys for change. When we finished eating, she was still outside, position unmoved and asking us for any leftovers. I did not have any, and one of my friends had a box of sushi that she ordered to-go for somebody back at school. We just walked past her and muttered “sorry,” and left. If there is anything that I regret not doing this semester, it would have to be during this moment.

I could have done so much more. It was one o’clock in the morning and I don’t think I have to explain how cold a rainy night in the bay is. She definitely was not equipped for the weather and to be hungry during a time in which many families come together to feast… I regret it so much. Needless to say, I wish my friend had given the woman her to-go box… I wish I went back inside the restaurant and ordered something for her… I wish I remembered that I had fruit in my backpack that I shamelessly took from our cafeteria that always provides us with more food than any of us need in a day. But it was late and cold and we had to rush back to study some more and complete essays and in the midst of it all, none of those deep thoughts hit me until we were already a mile away from her. And I wish I could go back. I hope somebody gave her something to eat, some solace from the rain, some warmth to move her fingers.

I feel like my generation has turned into a negligent monster and I won’t stand for it anymore. My conscience was way too heavy that night and I felt so guilty. And this is when I told myself I’d make a change. I don’t want to see anybody hungry anymore if I could help it. Today, this man came into a tea house that I was in, and he asked for money to buy some food. Before I made my mind to offer to buy him something, he was out the door, and I could not help but stare out and question why it does not come naturally to me to feed others in need. Maybe it was the fact that he asked for money—I don’t know what he would actually do with cash that I give him—so I initially declined. But damn it, I want to change so badly. I know how hard it is to start from the bottom, and to be stuck there. Welfare is not as easy as people think and getting a stable job if you do not have a permanent address nor previous work experience is scarcer than a four-leaf clover. People need to understand that ignorance does not speak any volumes nor walk any miles. It takes help and hospitality to move mountains.

So I am making a change. From this day on, I’ll pray to God to grant me a generous, giving heart. I’ll ask Him to please make it my duty to feed those that I can feed. I wasn’t put on this Earth to make money for myself and to live in luxury. I’ll give because that’s what I feel like I was born to do, and I hope that I can inspire some of you to take this step with me to help our fellow friends of the earth who are in need. They call this the season of giving, but in actuality, it should be a lifetime of giving.

“I give because I was given so much” –Alan B.

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