It is impossible to walk down the street in New York City without seeing someone begging for money. After a few years living here, you would think that I have gotten used to it. I have not. It takes an emotional toll on me knowing I get up every day wanting for nothing while there are others who don’t know when the next meal is coming.
When I have cash on me, I try to give some money to those who I see begging on the street. But I sadly admit, even I discriminate amongst the poor. There are those who look so disheveled and unhealthy that I am even scared to toss a few dollars in their tattered cup. It saddens me to even think about it. Why am I to judge which of the homeless I pass deserves money?
I try so hard to block out their voices. The pleas for help, some spare change, some food, a place to stay. I can’t ignore them – it just isn’t right. Some people tell me the money I give them goes towards drugs and alcohol. Or maybe that person is a criminal. Honestly, I don’t know, and it is not for me to decide. I just try to help when I can. But I always want to do more, yet I know not what to do.
I have more to say regarding homelessness in the city, but not right now. Just know this: If you are about to go spend $1000 on a table in a club, or just finished a nice dinner with friends, or are doing some shopping and you pass someone who would benefit from a few extra dollars – give them a $20. Will you really miss it?