I hate the begging, both because I am still uncomfortable refusing to give what they're asking for and because I am so frustrated to see a human being reduced (and reducing himself) to such a level, putting aside his dignity and taking up desperation and manipulation. This town is wearing on us even in the midst of our love for it. I'm tired of hearing all negativity all the time and tired of everyone judging and taking advantage of one another.
How is it that some people (like my housekeeper) always seem to be able to find odd jobs and little tips for things whereas other people insist that their only possible source of income is to get a monthly payment from us? How can we help people if giving them money is only going to perpetuation the situation and leave them needing more in another week? How can we take seriously our responsibility as Christians to provide for the poor, beginning with those in our own congregation?
The only ideas I have so far for the poorest of the poor are to write a pamphlet of really low-budget recipes (the kind where a family might be able to eat for $1/day) and suggest that maybe they don't need electricity. The second one still puts me in shock a little, but I really think it might be a solution for some. After all, food is a more pressing need than TV (which they all miraculously seem to have).