Help the Homeless and the Humble

Help the Humble Homeless! Do what works best for you and give your time and/or donation. Read on for more details and unique ways to help!

“It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered. If we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think it right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.” – Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette (@pennjillette, www.pennandteller.com) and many others are speaking out and voicing their thoughts and opinions brought on by the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Obama Healthcare Plan. Read up to date news and opinions of a diverse crowd here.

And while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I don’t feel I am well versed enough with the plan to intelligently voice mine, so I won’t. I’d rather focus on Penn’s quote above, particularly the bolded sentence, and this post be a resource for ways to help the homeless and suffering in the Midtown area.

Monday through Friday, I drive home via I-75 South from my work, getting off at the Howell Mill/Northside exit and waiting at the light on the ramp before turning left. Since May, I’ve encountered several homeless, hungry individuals.  I have rarely seen them approach cars to beg; they are sitting just hoping for the generosity of those more fortunate or luckier than themselves. As someone who rarely carries cash, but has half empty bottles of water, Gatorade, and coke (that I would eventually end up throwing away), I usually offer those in lieu of cash. 

The homeless can be a hassle and you never know their intentions.  If you are hesitant to provide cash to them because you aren’t sure what is will be used for, those in actual need still want the essentials – drink, food, clothing, and shelter. A college friend of mine has a brother, John, that often works downtown and he carries McDonald’s gift cards of small monetary amounts to hand out when approached. My friend, Anna, while doing rotations for medical school at Grady, never had cash on her either, so she helped a woman by treating her to a $5 lunch at Subway.

Of course, there are ways to help through organized charities, churches, shelters, etc. and there are many in our Patch. Do what works best for you and give your time and/or donation. Visit this link to find out about the charities, volunteering opportunities happening in your Patch.

Please feel free to comment with your ideas and certain charities that you are passionate about! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Anne Marie Schoerner June 28, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Awesome post Mary! Great ideas for helping without handing out cash!
Ben Stephens June 28, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Restaurants always provide way more food than a normal portion should be. When I went to Georgia state, I would bring my to-go boxes to the first homeless person I would run into. Great stuff Mary, keep up the good work!
eric beaver June 29, 2012 at 03:59 PM
i like the Micky D's gift card idea with small amount on it. I have served food at Must Ministries from time to time and this economy has put a lot of people on the streets. When I travel I bring back soaps and shampoos from hotels and give to Must Ministries. They hand out to people coming through center.
Mike_Midtown June 29, 2012 at 04:59 PM
A large percentage of the homeless population are suffering from mental illness which is why many remain homeless. A comprehensive healthcare plan such as the Affordable Healthcare Act for all would help to allievate that, not a sandwich.
Mary Schoerner June 29, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Mike_Midtown, thanks for your perspective. While you may view this healthcare act as a permanent solution to help the homeless suffering from mental illness, the implementation of such an act will take time. So until a permanent solution is made, what do we do in the interim? I know these ideas may be small and not long term, but I believe that the homeless, regardless of why they are homeless, are still hungry and believe that they can benefit from a small act of kindness, such as giving them a sandwich, donating clothes or money, or volunteering. Doing such acts is a way we can give back individually – as I don’t think it is feasible to rely on the government to “fix” everything.
Mary Schoerner June 29, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Eric- Great idea with saving the hotel amenities and passing them out! I'll have to keep this in mind while traveling, hotels are usually very generous with giving extra bottles of soap, shampoo, condition, etc.


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