DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS
By Max R. Weller
Read the letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera, and copied below in its entirety:
On the evening of Oct. 20, when it was dark and chilly, I left work late and caught the bus for home in North Boulder. I often think that this is the time “when the school of hard knocks” lets out; it appears that many of the people getting on the bus are heading to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. At one stop the bus driver was reluctant to let a woman on because she had no shoes (a violation of RTD rules). The bus was quiet as she explained she’d fallen asleep in the park and her shoes were stolen, so the driver let her on in her stocking feet.
She sat next to me and we talked about the unfairness of her stolen shoes when a girl on the other side of me said quietly, “Would you like my shoes? I don’t have far to walk.”
The woman said, “I can’t take your shoes, you need them.”
Then the girl’s mother said, “We don’t have to walk far and she’d like to give you her shoes. It was her idea.”
The shoes were graciously exchanged and donned by the woman who lost her shoes. It was one of the kindest acts I’ve witnessed. I asked the girl where she went to school and she said Casey Middle School. I don’t know her name, but I went home and made a donation to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and hope that this girl’s thoughtfulness inspires others to, as well. And perhaps someone find out that girl’s name and give her an award.
I was delighted by this letter, until I got to the final paragraph and read, “. . . I went home and made a donation to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and hope that this girl’s thoughtfulness inspires others to . . .” Huh?
My hope is that others who read this story of a young lady’s act of kindness will be inspired to imitate her, by giving an appropriate kind of aid DIRECTLY to a homeless person in need they may come across in the community. Isn’t this the example being set for all of us here? A homeless woman needed shoes, and the girl provided them!
It has nothing at all to do with any nonprofit, like BSH, burning through millions of dollars — from both public and private sources — every year without any long-term positive outcomes to show for it. And, to be brutally honest, who in blazes stole the homeless woman’s shoes in the first place? Almost certainly it was one of the homeless sociopaths who drift into Boulder around this time every year, and who are the biggest consumers of homeless sheltering/services in our fair city. The thought that this thieving ne’er-do-well would be rewarded by more donations going to Boulder Shelter makes me nauseated.
Please get a clue, Joanne . . .
Now, let me tell you about the act of charity I received this morning from another homeless man of my acquaintance: He just received his monthly disability benefits today, October 30th (because November 1st falls on a Sunday), and he walked up to me with a $20 bill in hand. “Here, Max, I want you to have this just for being my friend, and so you won’t have to stand out on the corner [panhandling] today.” Talk about an act of kindness! He saw my need, because I don’t receive any government benefits, and he wanted to help me purchase life’s necessities.
BTW, this occurred inside BSH, and my homeless friend deliberately chose to help someone directly, when he could just as easily have made a $20 cash donation to this nonprofit instead. I was almost speechless with surprise, but did manage to thank him. After further reflection, I should NOT have been surprised; most homeless and other poor people are very generous with what little they have in this world, but it’s always the Bad Actors who are in the public eye.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Let’s take these two examples to heart — the one of the girl on the RTD bus and that of my homeless friend at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless — and look for any opportunity to do as they have done.
That’s all for now. Have a good weekend!