Rejected Charity

Here is a good question, this situation comes up from time to time.  My response follows:

Hi I was wondering if I could have some advice. I prepared a care package for a homeless guy that I drive past every day on my way to work. It contained a blanket, beanie, jumpers, socks, pillow, towel, toiletries and some canned food (no need for an opener). However when I went up to the homeless guy he told me to go away and that he did not want anything & that he had everything he needed. He said I’m not poor give it to someone else. I was going to just leave it there for him but he kept saying don’t leave it! So I didn’t leave it for him. I’m thinking that perhaps he is too proud or maybe he is untrusting I don’t know. Is this a usual response from a homeless person or perhaps I am doing something wrong. Can you give any advice as how to approach a homeless person without offending them and letting them know that I’m doing it because I care? Thanks for your help 🙂

This does happen from time to time.   My main advice would be, don’t push it.  For some homeless people, receiving charity can be a sensitive issue.   Just wish the person a good day and leave them alone.   Now, in certain situations, you can get around this.    You could wait until the person leaves his particular location and if you believe he/she will be back soon, then leave the items there.    Or as some people did for a particularly difficult person whom they knew was a serious dumpster diver, they just left items for him on or near the dumpster.   Then it was just a good find, and he wasn’t accepting charity.    Or, you could just give the items to another homeless person.  Not only will you still be helping someone, your main concern will see the other homeless person enjoying the things you gifted him with, and seeing that your gifts pose no danger, he’ll be more likely to accept your charity the next time it comes around.

Those are some ideas around an obstinate recipient.  But remember the first rule – don’t push it.  Leave the homeless people alone if they decide to not accept your gifts.  Showing that you respect their space could be a good first step in eventually developing a relationship with this person.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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