Since moving to Seattle I have had the chance to think a lot about the initiative and about its ultimate effects on me and my actions. I am finally in a place where the rubber can really hit the road and I can actually begin carrying out the task of feeding the hungry and hopeless. The problem is that I am having a really difficult time seeing anyone who is really hungry, but I am seeing a lot of people who are completely hopeless. So I am starting to get frustrated not about the situation, but about the people who find themselves in the midst of it.
Let me explain what I mean. Every night after work I take the #16 bus from Pike & 3rd back home to Wallingford and every night there is someone begging asking for something whether it be money for food or change for the bus…there is always something. Like tonight, one woman came up to me shaking a cup asking for change, when I asked her what it was for she said it was for the bus so I gave her one of my bus tokens. She took the bus token and went on her way…the frustrating thing was that she had more than enough change in the cup to make bus fare. But the really infuriating thing for me happened a few minutes later when a guy came by shaking a cup and looking for a quarter. When I asked him what it was for he said it was for the bus so I gave him one of my bus tokens. But instead of using the bus token he took his cup and began shaking it at the people standing right next to me!
I can be indulgent and can understand that sometimes people fall on hard times. I understand how the system works. But at some point in time you need to take responsibility for your own stuff and man up a little bit. There are tons of organizations in the city of Seattle (walk in shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, job placement and training programs) for people to take advantage of. But yet I see so many people littering about the streets begging for money from anyone. Tonight I reached the point where I was no longer angry with issue of hunger, I was angry at the people who use my anger and my compassion to get things from me. I am frustrated by people who cannot manage to do the right thing and who purposefully choose not to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. And what infuriates me most is that I want to shake these people and make them do the right thing, but I am powerless to change the way that anyone acts except myself.