Spare Change? #JusJoJan

Image by Leroy Skalstad from Pixabay

I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles at one time, and the hotel we usually used was on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. My first time there, I was on my way to the 7-Eleven when a homeless guy asked me for a cigarette. I had by then quit smoking, so I had to say no, but I thought, you know what, I can do at least something for the guy. While I was at the store, I bought a pack of cigarettes, and on my way past the guy, I gave them to him.

Another time, I was out walking on Wilshire when I passed a bunch of homeless guys sitting in front of an abandoned storefront. One of them approached me and told me they were homeless and hungry and could I give them some money? I knew they were probably going to buy booze with it, but I felt bad for them and gave the guy a $10 bill. They treated me like I was a god. Kind of embarrassing, really, but hey, the money was nothing to me and they needed it worse than I did.

When Mary and I were getting ready to move, I had a bunch of coats that I was going to take to the DAV store. As I was walking there, a homeless guy asked where I was going, and when I told him, he asked if he could have one. He was there with a couple of his friends, and I had just enough old coats for each of them. Hey, they saved me an extra block of walking…

I’m not telling you this to brag or anything. What I did might have been the worst possible thing for them. But, you know what? I’ve never been homeless, but it really must suck. If I could give them even a moment’s happiness or comfort, I couldn’t refuse.

The lovely and talented Wendy from Wendy’s Waffle provided today’s prompt, change, for Linda Hill’s Just Jot It January. She has all the rules and prompts over at her place. Now a word about the Double Feature Projector by Bell & Howell.

30 thoughts on “Spare Change? #JusJoJan

  1. It’s not bragging, it’s inspiring. I feel like we need more of these stories, everyday people doing something nice for others.

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  2. I remember back in college, I walked down to the McDonald’s on Broadway to pick up an Egg McMuffin. A homeless gentleman outside the restaurant was pleading for cash as he was hungry. I ended up buying my Egg McMuffin and got him one too. When I walked out and gave him the sandwich, he swatted it away. He was angry I didn’t just give him cash. Despite that being almost 25 years ago, I occasionally hope that he’s ok.

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  3. I like putting items directly into the hands of people who need them. I had a charity I once donated to frequently. Then I found out the paid employees often were allowed to just pick and choose from the donations and take them home free. Now if they needed it, great, but that did not seem to be the case. I know I probably should not care, I should give with no strings attached which I did – just to a different organization. You’re a good guy, John.

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    1. Especially when I’m giving money, I want to be sure that the money goes where I want it to. We used to have a drive every year for the United Way, and I used to give until it came to light that the local director was taking some of the money to set up a little love nest for himself and his underage mistress. I’m also wary of all the “save the world for $19 a month” commercials. I know part of that $19 a month goes to the commercials, but just how much? Anyway, thanks, I try…

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  4. Thanks for the kind introduction. I like your take on the prompt. Homelessness is an increasing problem here and hubby will often give spare change and he’s given coats and clothing to a local homeless charity. I tend to be less hands on but we also regularly donate to Shelter, a homeless charity. We have several nearby churches that open shelters at this cold time of year but it’s an ongoing issue. Those geese in my photos are Egyptian geese.

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    1. I wonder if we’ll ever be able to solve the problem of homelessness, but the best we can do is help out where we can.

      I was reading up on the Egyptian goose. I guess they’ve established colonies in several countries, including the Southern US. Interesting birds; they look a lot like ducks. Hope yours continue to flourish…

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  5. Unfortunately, there are people that become down and out because of situations not within their control. We very rarely see the homeless in our travels but when we do my hubby always gives them a bottle of water. I’m sure you giving them coats was very much appreciated.

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    1. A lot of homeless people have psychological issues like PTSD, or drugs got involved. Some of them really need to be institutionalized so they can get the help they need, but that costs money and it’s too easy for them to sign themselves out and disappear. It’s a huge problem, and there are too few people qualified to help them. Best we can do is offer whatever help we can.

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  6. You are a very nice man. Whenever I engage the homeless (something I assiduously try to avoid), I make a point of looking them in the eye and speaking directly to them. Even when I can’t or won’t give them something, I can at least treat them with dignity.

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  7. You did right, John. I work in NYC, where there are so many homeless people it’s scary. You get asked for money so many times a day … you become very protective of your wallet … but it’s hard to ignore the misery.

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    1. I hate to say this, but when I’ve been in NYC I’ve often wondered if some of the guys presenting themselves as homeless actually are. I get a sense that maybe they’re a little too well-fed or a little too gregarious, or something just doesn’t feel right. I don’t get that vibe from other places I’ve been. It’s weird. I try to be generous anyway…

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  8. You definitely did the best you could John. There is so much homeless about these days, I know there always has been but it does seem worse now. A word a smile a little help can mean so much, the homeless are just like us, there but for the grace of God. 💜

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