Saturday, November 24, 2018

Over The Years, We've Learned The Difference Between The Needy And The Greedy

For as far back as I can remember, Lisa and I have always put in a tremendous amount of effort to assist those in need. We've raised money to provide families with Christmas dinners and gifts for their kids. I've lost count how many boxes of Bodacious Biscuit Love we shipped and donated. We've assisted pet parents in need. Provided meals for those who needed them. The list goes on. And on. And on.

I'm not blasting all of that for a pat on the back or praise. We do what we can do and we're always happy to assist. 

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, a woman on one of my social media streams was kind enough to buy extra turkeys. Her mission was to deliver the extras to local families who had fallen on hard times.

She had a couple of extra turkeys left over and posted that she was willing to deliver to a local family or two who needed them. At the end of her post, she mentioned that the turkeys were for "the needy, not the greedy."

A few people came down on her for saying, "the needy, not the greedy."

I'll be the first to admit, at first, I thought it was a bit tacky. But, after thinking about it, over the years Lisa and I have assisted quite a few people who weren't exactly...needy. They took what we offered because it was

And, on a few occasions, we were on the brink of helping someone out, but then...

The first thing that came to mind was a couple of families I knew who lived in a 2 family home.  They all have different last names. During the holiday season, they all went to the food pantry to gather turkeys, hams, and all of the fixings. They made out quite well, except, they didn't need them. They all went because it was free. No questions asked.

When one of the people who resided in this home was telling us the story, they mentioned that making trips to the food pantry was a regular thing. Often times, the fresh produce would rot so they'd throw it into the woods.

I'm not okay with this. 

The second thing that came to mind was a December event that we participated in a few years ago. A husband and wife duo was selling handcrafted items. When people visited their table, they told potential customers that they were raising money to buy Christmas gifts for their kids and stuff for their Christmas dinner.

Lisa and I started to feel bad and we gave each other that silent look of, "We need to help them out..." However, that mood fizzled out. The husband left and came back with Dunkin Donuts coffee. Then, shortly after, while one of the kids babysat their table, the both of them went outside for a cigarette.

Watching both of them out there, drinking their Dunks coffee and smoking cigarettes left a bitter taste in both of our mouths.

I also think about the many times we delivered dinners to an older woman who claimed poverty. Then, sporadically, she'd brag about having lobster and pricey steaks for dinner.

Again, the list goes on and on and on.

As I reflected on those moments, I understood where this woman was coming from because it has happened to us dozens and dozens of times.

Over the years, we've lived and learned. We've been taken advantage of more times than I care to admit. People will simply take something because it's free. Why buy a turkey when someone is handing them out for free, right?

Sadly, there are too many of the greedy who take away from those who are genuinely needy.

Because of that, we've made a considerable amount of changes when it comes to helping out those in need. We've tightened our reins.

A. Lot.

If you can afford lobster and top-shelf steaks, you don't need anyone delivering meals to you on a daily basis.

If you can afford Dunkin Donuts coffee and cigarettes, don't be giving people a sob story that you can't afford Christmas gifts or dinner for your kids.

If you can't afford Christmas gifts for your kids or to put food in the fridge or cupboards, don't be posting photos and social media updates about going out for drinks for "girl's night" or treating yourself to a manicure and pedicure.

I know that upfront, all of that sounds harsh, however, when you've seen the true faces of both greed and need, you learn a thing or two about differentiating.

On the flip side, you're never immune to those who are experts at pulling the wool over your eyes. 

For the past couple of years, we've focused on spreading holiday love and cheer to those who need it. We've sent gifts to those we know who don't have money for the holidays. If we know someone who has genuinely fallen on hard times, we help them out. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, our door is opened for those who are spending the holidays alone. And, as always, we help out the pet parents in need and make holiday boxes and bags for some of our local shelters.

Throughout the year, we spread random acts of kindness even if it's just paying for someone's coffee behind us in the drive-thru.

We haven't let our negative experiences get the best of us.

I'm sure there will be the occasional time when we're duped again.

But, as always, it's face forward, onward march.

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