Please Help My Family

Something interesting happened weeks ago, and I haven’t had the time to blog about it until now…

My husband and I were driving down a main drag in our small town, kid-less because it was date night, when we came across a guy standing on the corner across from Walgreens with a sign saying “Please help my family”.  Our movie didn’t start for awhile, so we pulled over to talk to the guy who looked to be about our age.  We asked him about his circumstances, and what brought him to our town.  We learned that he was the father of two who had just been laid off from a factory job and couldn’t provide for his two children or for his wife who had also lost her job.  He had come to our town in hopes of finding work or resources to help his family.  We learned that he had a daughter, just a little bit older than our oldest daughter,  and a younger son, so we went home to gather things he said his family needed – clothes and food.  We told him we would be just a few minutes, and we went home and gathered up what we thought would be a treasure trove for someone in need who has kids: coats (brand-new, donated from my husband’s wholesale business), food, clothes for his daughter, even some clothes we could scrounge up for his son.  We returned in less than 10 minutes with the items, but the man was gone!

I still can’t figure out what went wrong!  Perhaps he was lying about the needs of his family, and he really wanted cash instead for something else, possibly drugs (this is why I always try to avoid giving cash to those in need but rather try to find necessary resources for them instead).  I hate to be skeptical, but I have read a bunch of stories in the news about panhandlers who try to swindle and deceive, mostly for the purpose of supporting drug or alcohol habits and not seeking for their own well-being or that of their families.

This happened probably over a month ago now, and we haven’t seen the guy since…  If I did, I would probably pull over again, but this time it would be to ask him what it is he REALLY wants!

8 thoughts on “Please Help My Family”

  1. I have also seen the similar people on the street corner holding signs and my thought was why aren’t they holding up a sign that reads “work wanted”. I am the first one to admit that times are tough, but asking for handouts are not the answer.

    I do commend you for going the extra mile to help someone in need. I have no extra money, but I do like to help people. My favorite thing to do is “random acts of kindness”. some of the things I have done are holding a door open for someone, helping a stranger unload their cart at the grocery store, or just smiling at someone and telling them to have a nice day. I remember about a month ago I was driving down State Street in Fort Wayne. A little old lady in the lane next to me had a flat tire. I pulled my car up next to her. It took a few blows to the horn before she would roll her window down. She looked shocked when I told her about her tire. I often wonder just how many blocks she would have driven before anyone else would have told her she had a flat.

  2. Definitely strange. In today’s world, one can never really tell if the guy on the corner is genuine or noto. However, a good thing to go the necessity route rather than the $

  3. One of my favorite things… aside from raindrops on roses and all the rest… helping those in need even if by offering a smile, a kind word, encouragement no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, a hug goes a long way.

  4. It could be that the police stopped by and visited with the man. I’m not sure what laws are on the books regarding panhandling, but most rural communities have stricter laws than larger cities. And there is less for the local officers to do, so they can move panhandlers to different locations.

    In our county, we have a number of organizations to help those in need. I’ve seen signs on a few local churches that have free meals. Unfortunately, for those in need, it is hard to find out where the help is.

    Of the people I’ve seen wanting money, food or help, it is amazing how many actually turn down anything but the money. I remember when I just moved back to the area, I offered to buy a weeks worth of groceries for a man’s family. He turned me down flat, he just wanted the cash. All I could say was Hmmmm.

  5. I would pray that he is in a better situation (and his family assuming he was telling the truth of course). You did the best you could, and the right thing.

  6. One of our churches offers a meal every Wednesday night. The youth at my own church has a meal one Sunday a month.

  7. We spoke with him a little bit about the police and and the laws – he said he called the city police and they said there are no laws against it. If that’s true, it explains why we see people like him from time to time. I think at first he thought we were questioning his presence and going to tell him to go home. Who knows, maybe he still thought we were going to get him in trouble and he left.

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