Friday, December 4, 2009

Homeless...An Aspiration?

Austin has an infestation of panhandlers. Every major intersection has 4 folks posted up hitting each direction of traffic for "compassionate sharing." Apparently the folks in this town liked it so much they decided to put the "Bum Hotel" (AKA Homeless Shelter) right in the Downtown Bar District. Guess they didn't want them drinking and driving back to their boxes.

So along with the tired and poor are the fakers. The intersection at Brodie and William Cannon by my house is their training grounds. These guys practice their sad limp, dirt make up, proper signage inscriptions and wear and tear. Because of these (It's been 7 years since the incident in Tulsa that jaded me against all panhandlers for life...not gonna go into it here, let's just say he screwed the pooch for all legit vagrants) I don't trust anyone outside my car window.
We also have the aggressive former-drug-addicts-turned-bible-thumpers on our streets. These whack jobs will throw themselves on your car, shake your car and reach into your car to get the goods.

So, my wife and I have established a practice of only giving actual items to charities. We refuse to donate cash, period. I don't like the idea of some non-profit exec driving a BMW while only 5% goes to the charity we are backing. So food banks, toys for tots, coat donations, etc are the only feasible way for us to give back beyond our time, blood, sweat and tears.

Tomorrow we are going to the Capitol Tree Lighting Ceremony and the admission cost is a jar of peanut butter per attendee. I love this. It's benefiting Caritas Austin, a local food bank. If you're going to give, give cautiously and know the recipient percentage. If you're Scrooged against the idea, join my train of thought and donate goods and services...not your cold cash.

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