The other day, I had one of those unfortunate everyday experiences in larger cities. I was asked for change by a homeless guy and I said no. Why? Common reasons for not giving would be a) can't give money to everyone b) they're just going to use it to buy drugs or booze c) why don't they get a job like the rest of us d) they should use the services we already pay taxes for e) i already support homeless groups in town etc... (My reason that day was a). It occurred to me after this exchange what a small but draining, negative experience that was for both myself and this homeless person. So I started thinking about what a better scenario might be...
The idea that germinated was one that would allow for more human, caring interactions with the homeless, and would increase support and awareness for the various homeless ngos.
There is a great fund-raising program up in Canada by GreenPeace. I signed up with a rep in front of MEC in Toronto years ago. I gave them my credit card info and they have been automatically withdrawing $10 a month for years now. Genius. Not sure why we don't see more of that. Anyone? In any case, since then, whenever I see a GreenPeace rep asking for money, I give them a big smile, a thumbs up and say "Already signed up!". Easy.
So...to take it one step further, what about some sort of program where you could donate money that would go toward the homeless and then have a number of ways that you can subtly show that you do this. e.g. a small nicely designed pin, ribbon, bracelet (think pink ribbons, armstrong bracelets etc). This could create a better basis for exchanges with the homeless. It would also inevitably start conversations due to the pin/ribbon/bracelet and lead to more funding for the homeless as well as general awareness. And it might put money where it is most helpful to the homeless.
Just a thought and probably been thunk before...Would love your comments. [by Graham Hill]