How many times have you talked about giving money to a homeless person and someone responds with the line, “There’s no point, they will just spend that on alcohol.” Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there are cases where this does occur, but how are we to know who will use it responsibly and who won’t? Can we judge who will spend money on what based on their appearance? The powerful video below touches on this exact subject.
When I saw this video it reminded me of a community outreach event we did last year here in Toronto. We made a bunch of healthy lunches and handed them out to the homeless in the city. The experience was really eye-opening for me, because it became very clear that food wasn’t the only thing they starved for. It was a lack of human connection.
We found a common response from the many homeless people that we interacted with; in their experience most people passing by avoided making eye contact, looked down at them, and didn’t see them as equal, or even as human beings. Rarely would someone offer a moment to talk or connect, and it was that human connection which they all appreciated much more than a buck or some food or something like that. It isn’t to say that those things don’t help, but sitting down with them for a chat or actually listening to their story can bring them to tears, because it’s something they crave so much.
Give People a Chance, They Might Surprise You
This video below is so touching because it shows the sheer love and care many people have within them, even when they are experiencing tight times or don’t have very much. Again, this isn’t to say everyone would respond in this way, but it’s about recognizing the examples of when it happens, as it probably happens more often than we think, yet we only ever remember or focus on the bad.
You also never know how people ended up where they did. Just as we learned when we were speaking with the homeless here in Toronto, it’s not always a choice for people or a result of the fact that they are alcoholics or addicted to drugs. Many times they were just going through a rough patch, and before they knew it everything around them had collapsed: family, a house, a job, their money. Sometimes it can happen in a very short period of time and we don’t always have the means to turn it around right away.
All I’m trying to say is, try to remember to reach out and even simply talk to someone who is homeless, find out their story and if you feel inspired to help them, reach out. But I can promise you that simply talking to them would be something they would love.
Given the popularity of this video it would be hard to say that it hasn’t received some negative backlash, with some people accusing it of being staged. Video creator Josh Paler Lin has claimed that he was asked to create an Indiegogo campaign for Thomas, the homeless man, and he received over $135,000 in donations. Where did the money go? Josh and Thomas claim that the money went to helping Thomas have a fresh start. Others are a bit more skeptical.
Some have claimed this video is partially staged. However ,these allegations seem to have little proof or legitimate evidence from what I have found. A bit more info here.