In some places, you can find people asking for money outside of stores, including grocery stores. Halifax is one of them. I’m not a fan of giving them money, to be honest, because I am not sure where that money ends up being spent. Yes, that’s judgmental because I worry about not being approving of it if I knew. But I’ll firmly defend that with it’s my money and I’ll do with I want with it. I might note, though, that I am just as judgmental towards giving money to bigger charities that do things like hosts lavish celebration parties they reached their goals, or pay their CEOs exorbitant salaries in the eyes of most.
All that judgment doesn’t mean I don’t give to others. I just take a different approach than most, one that requires more work, to know or plan on how to spend that money in ways I approve of. I work hard for it and save it, and I’m not about to give it away so people can become reckless with it, possibly even harming themselves rather than helping that thwarts my good intentions in the first place. If good intentions were bricks on the road to Hell, then I’ll make sure I lay them, not have others lay them on my behalf, thank you very much!
Usually, I spend money to give people something they need, or pay some portion of its increase, if I hear about it and can verify it. Sometimes, I give people something they want that they can’t really afford, but I know will bring them joy and/or make a positive impact in their lives otherwise. Other times, I give them something they can use, whether they like it or not like basic food for those asking for money. Use someone else’s money for things I may not approve of, but they can consume what I gave them and keep that money for those other things. Should they choose to throw out what I gave them, well, they’ll have to think about spending that other money on something similar rather than something they might otherwise need. There’s at least a challenge they will have to think about in that decision.
Recently, I thought of a way to give people asking for money some things they could use more regularly. I walk to the grocery store, and I almost always end up buying something on sale. I have a rule for buying non-perishables, sliced bread, and sliced bagels, only when they are on sale that I rarely have to break. That’s because I stock up and there’d be enough chances to replenish before I run out. It’s only my human imperfections that keep me from obeying this all the time.
On the way to the grocery store, I will keep an eye out for people asking for money. Usually, I’ll see at least one, if there weren’t one just outside some grocery stores. That’s quite sad for a small city like Halifax. I will keep them in mind and buy them something with at least some of the money I save so it’d be like passing on what I might otherwise have had to spend. I could get them some good sliced bread/bagels on Sundays when I often go, and when there is often bread and bagels on sale. Sometimes, the bread and bagels are on sale because it’s close to the Best Before date, but I won’t worry. Those breads and bagels will still last a week if you know how Best Before dates work. I could also get them numerous other items readily consumable, or learn what some may be able to take for when they were in hostels, shelters, etc. where they could use them. The breads and bagels I could give them, though, I can almost guarantee you the places where these people get food won’t have anything as good and nutritious for what I buy that’s on sale!
Breads and bagels alone won’t be too appetizing, but it’ll be better than nothing, and at least fill their stomachs for a while. If there were other things I find, I can also get them in small portions, like a little meat to go with it. Jams and other things to spread might not be practical but maybe that with some plastic cutlery. Who knows, maybe they have some. I could ask but will have to balance creating expectations I might not be able to meet.
Now, what if some of those people have food allergies so they can’t consume what I give them? Well, maybe trade with others or give it away and maybe have those others give something back in the future? That’s not a bad thing to be able to do something nice for someone else. Again, I could ask, but I could also spend more time to think about other options, like drinks, maybe some desserts, etc.
Finally, would these acts of kindness be “random” if I have either planned or incorporate them as a bit of a routine? Well, sort of. The people I see don’t seem to be regulars who are there all the time since they either move around, or through, the city. I’ll be random to them rather than the guy who always give, which I won’t always be able to which will also make it random. What I give will depend on what’s available that’ll be a bit random. There’s enough randomness, in other words, to call them random acts of kindness.
What won’t be too random, though, is that it’ll make some people happier for it all.
And because it’ll be off money you save, the financial impact to you will be minimal since if you didn’t plan things so well, or were lucky enough with timing, to be able to happen on the savings, you might have spent that money anyway.