So far our opportunities to offer tangible help have been somewhat limited. Not to say that we haven’t been on the lookout; we just haven’t seen the opportunities.
But there have been a couple things… A guy named Moe used to hang out on the street (haven’t seen him in several weeks) and I would chat with him occasionally. One night when I was going to move my van he asked me for a ride. I checked with Tiffanie and then drove him home a couple miles away. On the way, I made a mistake, but more about that in a sec.
Another time, he asked me for a ride to work or cash for a bus, but because we had about a dozen people in the house at the time, I told him I couldn’t drive him.
On another occasion, a guy walked up to me at night (I was standing outside talking to a friend)and asked for money for gas. I told him I didn’t have any money for him, but that I would gladly fill up a gas can (which I provided). I gave him the 5 gallons and said all I wanted was the can back. He brought it the next day. I still wonder if he was really looking for booze money and got punished with carrying 5 gallons of gas 5 blocks back to his house.
Speaking of booze, the mistake I made with Moe was giving him money for booze. I even asked if that was what it was for and caved to his request. Oh, well. In response to my mistake, (she) and I agreed to not give any money at all, but instead to meet whatever need the money is requested for. We know that this will be extremely challenging. It’s much easier to hand out money. But we moved here, in part, because we did not like that mentality.
So, our goal is to meet expressed/physical needs while looking for folks’ spiritual needs. I invite anyone with experiences in this area or in a neighborhood like ours to let us know ways we can be on the lookout or sharpen our eyes.