Many drivers don’t make eye contact, some root around for a dollar or some change out of their cup holder. And sometimes they hand over a card. That little card is the most powerful piece of paper around, but it has to be used.
More powerful than a dollar
On the card is a phone number to call: a shelter, a place to get food, an agency that will give help.
If you look at what people are doing here, they are helping by: doing something and not doing something for the person asking for some cold hard cash. They don’t give money; they do give an option for concrete help.
Some of these folks with a ragged sign really are homeless, but there is always that niggling concern, and founded, that the money is going to go for drugs or a pack of smokes, and not for food. Finding ways to help an addict or the homeless and destitute are very much the same, and giving this little card, instead of money, makes the biggest impact. Why is that?
Give resources over cash
Providing someone with resources is a jumping off point for true change.
For the homeless, this means getting them shelter that also offers some extra help once they get there, if they opt to take advantage of the help. For someone with an addiction, offering to help them get the help they need, without giving them money that might be used to buy drugs or alcohol, is the most meaningful kind of assistance.
There isn’t a guarantee that the offer of help will be taken, or even that rehab will be successful. But it is certainly holds more potential than some loose change.