When we hear that the people begging for alms at every street corner are pawns of crime syndicates who use these unfortunate souls to earn money, whether it be true or urban legend, it gives us pause whenever a person (whether hungry child or adults) begs for alms or sells garlands of sampaguita on the street. We are unsure whether the alma we really helping them or further perpetuating their enslavement to the syndicate they might be part of. Furthermore, we are torn because we wonder whether giving them a few coins would encourage them to be lazy and reinforce begging as a way of life; yet at the same time, compassion moves us to want to help them.

We can not be sure what their stories or motivations are. As far as we know, it’s safer to not get mixed up in such messy situations. Every time a street kid/person comes by to sell me garlands of flowers or beg, I am torn between turning her away and giving a few coins. I eventually stopped giving coins because they can easily go and buy addictive substances like cigarettes, rugby (glue), alcohol or whatnot. For a while, I just tried to ignore them and turn them away whenever they came by to beg and it was not an emotionally pleasant experience and every stoplight refreshed the experience.

I finally decided I cannot live with feeling helpless every time a street person comes by for ams and brought some snack food (biscuits, chips, etc.) to place in the car so when someone comes knocking on my car window, they don’t leave empty handed. And it has been a satisfying experiences to a least share some food with them somehow in my own little way.

Feel free to give it a try. Perhaps we might not solve poverty
in one fell swoop but at least somehow we are doing our part in sharing our blessings with people in need.

(c) Niconica 2012

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