Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Website

All future posts on this topic can be found at

Sunday, June 27, 2010

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We saw this man sitting outside a bar and his sign reads "Help me get Drunk" and my first reaction was that won't be very effective, but then my wise wife said- "Well actually, if you think about it, he is sitting outside a bar, and those that are going in will most likely respond to that, so really it may be effective."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One Woman Donating her Shoes to the Homeless

A lot of us say that we'd give the shirt off of our backs for those that are in need around us. I think that we like to think that we would, but perhaps in the moment of need we sometimes pass by and don't give nor think in our hearts "if I had I would give." Maybe next time you see somebody in need you can remember this story from an anonymous reader who exemplifies the way we need to think and act towards those that are less fortunate. Here is her story.

"Ann, a homeless woman with a small boy of about 15 months of age, was staying at a local shelter. Per the usual rules, her husband was in the male dorm while she stayed in the female dorm with her son. The family would occasionally stop by The Micah Center for food (free hot breakfast Mon-Sat) and a bag lunch to go. The center also provides help with finding jobs (among other services) so that was the primary reason they came by but they would also stop by the clothing area to find anything for themselves. The entire stock of clothing is donated so they often would not find anything in their size but they looked anyway because you just never know. One day, Ann came to the clothing area looking for a pair of shoes. All she had on were a pair of crocs. The plastic shoes with the holes in them. Though she had on socks, her feet would still get wet. She said they were the only shoes she had and her feet were always cold and she wanted to try to find some sneakers or anything like that to help protect her feet. There’s a couple of us volunteering in the clothing area and we searched every pair of shoes for her size, 7.5, but without luck. Just as we were getting to the last of our options, she said she really needed to use the bathroom. We told her to go downstairs but come right back up just in case we had something for her. The other worker found nothing close enough to her size for her to try. I wear a size 8 and took off my shoes (just a pair of New Balance sneakers, nothing fancy, but with plenty of life left in them and no holes) and started waving them in the air to cool them down. You see, Ann would never take anything she couldn’t use and she certainly wouldn’t take something from someone else. I had to make it look like we had this pair in the clothing area and they were hers for the taking if she wanted them. Luckily, I was standing behind a desk and she couldn’t see my feet. When she returned a couple of minutes later, we told her we had one last pair she could try. I put the shoes on the desk, she took them and slipped them on. She said they were perfect and was so thankful we found something for her. I think she even gave the other worker a hug in gratitude. After she left, the other worker found a pair of donated socks for me (they were the kind with the non-skid plastic on the bottom) so I could wear something warm home. I’ve had several folks who know this story tell me how generous it was of me to do that but I don’t see it that way. You see, I just kept thinking that I had 2 more pairs of shoes at home and she had nothing. It just wasn’t right. As a mom, I felt the need to give her a hand-up to help her take care of herself so she could do what she had to do to take care of her family. To me, it was a no-brainer. I’m just very thankful it was merely a cold Winter day and not a wet one…"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Helping a beggar at the store

This story comes from Sadie from Texas. She was the first response to the free big mac competition. There are still 3 more gift certificates to be won so write me your stories today. Here is the story.

Scott and I were in Carlsbad, New Mexico which is an old run down town in the middle of nowhere, but it has these amazing caverns near by so people visit the place. We were staying in a very shady hotel that made us uncomfortable drinking the water, so we decided to run to the nearby grocery store to buy some bottled water.

For whatever reason, Scott had a $100 bill and said we should break it into smaller bills. I went in to get the water while he sat in the van with the boys. I think I totally got the better end of the deal. Anyway, I went up the register with a gallon of water and some crackers, totaling like $7. I should add here, that I never use cash. I don't like it. I'm always afraid I will lose it. I also don't like having to account for it when I'm budgeting. It's harder to keep track of it. So, I pull out my big bill and these two guys are kind of lingering around the cashier's counter. I'm the only one there other than the check out lady. One guy is behind me on my right, and another on my left. I felt a little scared as the cashier counted out my $93. I hurriedly stuffed it all in my pocket and started to bolt for the door.

Then the guy on my left approaches me. He asked me if I had a few extra bucks. Of course I do, and he just saw it. He was like three feet away. I told him I did, but then I thought better. I had just read about the best ways to help bums. I didn't want my two buck to go to something like cigarettes or alcohol. So, I thought, I'll ask him what he needs it for, and if it's food I go find some food in one of the isles for him.

I asked, and the guy told me some story about needing gas for his Harley to pick it up.... I didn't really understand it all. So, I said, okay. I handed him two bucks and then bolted for the door.

I'm not sure if I really helped him or not, but I hope he used the small amount of money I gave him for a good cause.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One donation changed a life- Rudy's Story

Christine, a volunteer at an outreach non-profit targeting the adult homeless community shares her experience with one homeless man. (the first response to the free big mac giveaway, and as you can see from the story- she didn't share this for the big mac- Thanks Christine from Virginia)

"Rudy is a nice guy. He’s willing to work and does his level best to please The Lord. Some time back (a few months ago), I was in a position to provide Blue_Rudy with a guitar. He’d had the unfortunate experience of having most of his gear stolen from him, and being a musician he was satisfying his need to play by visiting a nearby music shop to pick at his favorite off the shelf. The shop was very kind and he put in many hours there… I went to the shop, found out which was his favorite and purchased it. I was able to give the guitar to him a few days later telling him it was a “directed donation”. (I explained it was a donation to The Micah Center but he was the intended recipient.) He was totally surprised and amazed that it was THE guitar he’d spent so much time with…”How did I know?!” he demanded to know. I simply stated a little bird spoke. It was wonderful to see his delight. With his new tool (he later named her “Michelle” as a feminine version of “Micah” in reference to the Center), he was able to start giving guitar lessons. With the money he was able to make giving lessons, he was able to file his tax return to get his refund (I guess he had to use some kind of service). With his refund, he was able to register his van (his home) and get it back on the road. With transportation, he was able to take odd jobs to try to stay employed. Much has happened since this, but it still warms my heart to know that this investment was able to provide so much more for someone."

Blue_Rudy keeps his myspace updated by using the computers at The Micah Center, the library, and other places. It’s worth the time to check out if you are so inclined.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Panhandled Potholders

Beggars really know how to spot a sucker and they come right up to me no matter where I am. Meet Nellie, the woman I met today on my way to dinner.

I have her phone number, so if you want to buy a potholder, please let me know and I will arrange the purchase and delivery. But the tri-colored blue one is mine!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Simple Ideas to Help the Homeless

Here are a few simple ways to help the homeless for ordinary people that don't include volunteering at the soup kitchen. I also have a personal experience at the end that taught me the best way to help.

Plan to buy more at the restaurant than you are going to eat, get a take home box and take it directly to somebody that you find out on the street. I do this because most the time I take home leftovers from my business lunch or dinner it sits and rots in the refrigerator until I throw it away.

A lady in my office has a keen eye for helping the homeless and has put together a box where the employees can place their aluminum cans (see picture). Every other week she places the box out by the dumpster with a note that asks them to take it.

A common and standard form of giving is to get gift certificates to fast food, salad, or dinner restaurants and give them away as you pass those that have signs up that say they are hungry. This is way better than giving them money and is specifically giving them what they need.

Invite them to join you for dinner. Invite them to get whatever they would like up to a certain price point if you are concerned of being taken advantage of. Note: It is easier to invite them into the car when I don’t have anything valuable lying around the backseat.

Invite them to do odd jobs around the house, or better yet around your place of business. The front lawn or yard or garden area is ideal for this purpose and then give them

Donate time for professional services(dentist, doctors, pshycologist)

As I have talked to the homeless I have been amazed that sometimes what they are really longing for is human interaction. It goes a long way when somebody talks to them and shakes their hand and/or looks them straight in the eye. This should not be underestimated.

The most important thing I think is talking to them and asking what they need. Today we drove passed a man that had a sign that read, “Hungry, please help.” We went on our way but after our dinner we asked for a “to go” box and filled it up with our leftovers. We passed the man again and decided to stop and give him the food. We stopped and talked to him for a few minutes, and he graciously accepted the food. I inquired as to what he really needed and to my surprise he said he needed another crutch explaining that he didn’t have the second one and secondly he pointed to his shoes that were worn down and falling apart and said he needed shoes. We asked him what size and he told us ten and a half. We got his name and said that we may see him again.