I Have A Hobo Problem

hoboI have a problem with hobos.   First, let me say I like the word “hobo” way better than “homeless” or “less fortunate” because it sounds like they are choosing to be a hobo.  They want to “ride the rails” and travel the country in a box car with a jaunty bandanna, cute dog and a hobo sack tied to a stick.

I know the truth is most “hobos” have mental problems, drug problems, many are vets and it totally sucks.

Here’s my problem.  When I see a guy standing on the side of the road with a sign that says “Homeless Vet Need Food God Bless” I feel I really really need to give him a dollar, or five or ten because I’m afraid he might be Jesus.  I constantly think God might be testing me, sending His son down to test me.

If I was God, that’s what I would do. It’s the perfect way to find out what’s in a person’s heart.  Do you really want to help or do you want to look away, ignore or judge?

Some times I see guys on the side or the road with a sign, asking for help and I reach into my pocket quickly. Sometimes, I’m kind of slow or hesitant, because I don’t believe the people are actually poor, looking for a job, hungry or needy.

But what if I’m wrong?  What if my judgment is off, what if it is Jesus?  That’s what drives me crazy and makes me worry for my own soul.  I look at people, their signs, their clothes, their expression and I judge.

Judging is wrong. I don’t know what they’ve been through, I don’t know what’s in their heart. How could I presume to think I know anything about their heart. Deep in my heart I know I shouldn’t judge.  That’s God’s job. My job is to help.





A Homeless Boys Backpack

Every time there’s a canned food drive I try to do the right thing. I poke around in my cabinet and pull out some canned yams, maybe a can of   peas or olives. Then I throw it in a plastic bag with a prayer and virtueously give it away. I’m so generous and awesome. Homeless hungry people must really think I’m wonderful.

For the past four months we’ve had a little boy staying with us who, according to  school records and DHS is “a homeless unaccompanied youth”. His parents are currently drifting around staying with friends and sometimes living in a tent. I’m not going to talk about them cause they make me crazy.

Every week this little boy, Jason, brings home a plastic bag full of food. He explained to me on the first week that Miss Susan, his counselor, puts the bag in his back pack on Fridays. The school knows he gets breakfast and lunch during the week but they want to make sure he has food on the weekends.

I was stunned and had no  idea this was going on in our school district. My first instinct was to tell the school not to send the food home with Jason. We have food. Then I realized he was kind of proud of his contribution. He liked putting it in the cabinets and always asked if I was using his rice or peanut butter.

This week when I opened Jason’s backpack I was kind of disgusted. There was a can of pinto beans, a can of generic tomato soup, pumpkin pie filling, one  granola bar and six ounces of rice. Seriously, that’s what Jason was supposed to eat over the weekend? I do understand the beans are loaded with fiber and protein but do you really think a ten year old boy is going to dive into that can?

Who the hell sent this home with a supposedly homelesskid? Then I realized I was the sanctimonious contributor. I’m the one who cleans out my cabinets and gives hungry people ancient canned yams. I’m the one who previously thought they should be happy with whatever they got. What a bitch.

No matter how lazy or entitled his parents are, Jason deserves better.

So next time there’s a canned food drive spend five dollars and get some Raviolis,  a jar of peanut butter, he even likes Vienna Sausages. But you keep the flavorless pinto beans, yams and beef broth. Just like your kids, (yeah, think  about what your kids actually want to eat) Jason doesn’t have any idea what to do with that stuff.