As I was walking in to work from my vehicle this morning a lady wrapped in a sweatshirt, with her hood up and cinched around her face (it wasn’t that cold this morning), smoking a cigarette, asked me (and I’m sure this is going to come as a shock to you all), “Do you have any change this morning?”
My immediate response was a flat, un-emphasized, “No.” It might have been a little harsh. It might have even been a little rude. But I wasn’t in the mood for that question, that early. As I am walking across the street to my place of employment, to earn my money, someone is standing on the street corner asking me to give it away.
I’m sure there is a little part of me that is thinking, “Darn it, man. She’s an unfortunate soul who is in need.” But then there is a larger part of me that thinks there are so many programs and opportunities for people in her situation, that she could take advantage of freely, that I don’t need to provide her with anything of mine.
This other part of me, the jaded and somewhat cynical part, won out. Then, to my chagrin, she said to me as I was walking away, “Well you have a nice day.” It wasn’t laced with sarcasm, it didn’t sound like she was angry. She simply said, “Have a nice day”, like I would say to a friend at the end of a conversation.
So now the question…. Where do I stand on helping the less fortunate? Well, I support helping the less fortunate who actually want to help themselves. I don’t support the free-loading alcoholics and drug users. If they wanted help, and I mean really wanted help, they could get it. But they choose the easy path of using and drinking, and then begging for money.
So how do people help themselves when they are in need? Lets talk about two different ways.
First, here in Eureka:
The Eureka Rescue Mission. Good people doing good things to help those in need. With a religious foundation and very strict sobriety rules, people in need can take advantage of the Mission’s many offerings. All they have to do is ask. Check out the Rescue Mission online:
Second, back home in Vacaville:
The Opportunity House. Again, good people doing good things. This one I have a little more information on, because my father has been intricately involved in the goings on of Opportunity House for many years now. They are currently holding their annual fund raiser, known as the Festival of the Trees. Well worth checking out at:
You can further explore the workings of the Opportunity House at:
So what does all this mean? I guess I am not so anti-unfortunate person as I thought. But I am for people helping themselves. All they have to is simply accept a few ground rules and actually want to make a change in their lives. Simple? Probably not as simple as it sounds. But its doable. And most things worth doing aren’t exactly easy.
They are simply worth it.