Almsgiving is a term used to describe the action of giving money, food or other items to the poor as a charity act. In some regions, it is usual to see people on the streets begging for money as the most common of requests.
When you are a kid, adults teach to be charitative giving to the poor. How great it feels helping and being solidary and empathetic. Religions as well, lecture us about charity and so on. Anyway, you can not see much charity in the real world.
You can see all kind of people surrounding beggars. There are those who will ignore them, those who will look at them to consider it, people who are just going to say “maybe next time”, and those who will give them whatever penny hidden in your pocket. There are even few who will take half of what they got for that day’s meal purchase and give it away to the beggar because they think he will need it more than they do. We have to admit that last one would be one person in a hundred, but they do exist.
Whichever our standing is about this topic, we already know there are two faces for one single coin. And that is what I pretend to make you concious about with this entry.
Why is Charity Important?
Charity gives us the chance to get closer among us, it makes us humble and teaches us to give without exactly getting something. It is a way to thank God, Life, Universe -or however you want to name it -for everything we got, and give a little of this in return.
The truth is everyone might sometime need other people’s compassion and charity. We do not know which kind of situations may have led people where they are now, or where we will be in the future.
It is always good being benevolent, helping, and giving to the needed. Maybe as compassion, goodness, charity, generosity, or because other way you would have regrets, always there is going to be someone who gets benefits from a good action. And that brings us to the negative side for all of this.
Is there a Negative Side in Charity?
Charity is never going to be a bad thing. The bad thing is people using this quality for their own profits. Some take advantage of other’s good intentions. It is commonly seen among beggars who really don’t have neither a roof to sleep under nor a piece of bread to eat, people masquerading as beggars and asking for money on the streets, squares, pedestrian bridges, collective transport, etcetera. Even thought they have the chance to get the money working, these people choose to recieve it from people who give it to them in goodwill after hearing their fake stories.
Not a long time ago, while I was on my way home in a urban bus, a man took it and ask the passangers to help him collect certain amount of money so he could get back to his born city, where his family was living in that moment. He talked to us about the tragedy which carried him to desperately having to ask for alms on buses. This man gave us details about how his life had changed in a few days: his wife, having their recently borned little daughter on her arms, fell through their house stairs and, as a result, his wife was hospitalized and their daughter, after getting her head hit in the fall, got a surgery so he had any chances to be saved. Nothing of this was told to him, so he didn’t have to worry about it, given that he was working in another state in the country at that time. But when his little girl died, he was told the truth so he could make it to her funeral.
Of course, this story touched us all there present, or at least to those who gave him money in order to help him get enough for the ticket that would give him the chance to see his daughter one last time and give comfort to his wife. Imagine my surprise when approximately a month later I saw him again telling that same story, saying his baby daughter just died in an accident, and giving exactly the same detail than the first time, asking for money to get a ticket for the bus to attend to his baby’s funeral…
I am sure this wasn’t the first time someone does something like that, and definitely, this won’t be the last one. While there is an easier path to get money, there will be people who will take it. It is sad that some take advantage from the collective goodwill. But it is even sadder knowing there is people who actually has to feed on other’s charity because they really do not have any other options.
Given that “appearances are deceiving”, it can be hard to identify who is trying to win easy money asking some coins to every person passing by, and who truly needs from your charity. But, at the end of the day it is in everyone of us taking the decision to be or not to be benevolent, which way we are and who we are like that with. Be careful not to be decieved, but without turning your heart hard to real needs of those people we share the world with.