What to do when a Homeless Person Asks you for Money

Our calling is clear, we need to be gracious to those who are needy but how do we know that the person asking is actually in need? And how do we know if they will use our money the right way?

(Jordan Standridge – The Cripplegate)  My freshman year at the Master’s university I got to participate in something called outreach week. The whole school took a week off and the students were split up into teams that would go and serve churches around Los Angeles and even in other states for an entire week. I told the man in charge to sign me up wherever he wanted and so he assigned me to a church in the heart of Los Angeles.

What I didn’t know was that this church liked to do things differently. Located not too far from Skid Row, the church had a thriving homeless ministry and their goal was to help us understand what it was like to be homeless, in their minds it took us being homeless to truly have compassion for homeless people. As soon as we arrived at the house we were given 7 dollars in monopoly money and we were also given a menu to let us know what each item cost. A shower was 7 dollars. One small meal was 5 dollars and I forget the rest but you get the point.

For a week, we slept outside in a parking lot (across the street from a police station so don’t worry) we had one meal a day, we had our suitcases taken away so we only could use the clothes we showed up in and never took a shower. We also had to go around one afternoon and ask people for money. It was a pretty remarkable experience that I will never forget and it absolutely worked as my heart for the homeless grew exponentially as the week went on.  View article →