So walking into and out of Camden Yards, depending on where one parks, homeless people and beggars are there. I've seen people be generous, but more often act insensitively (ignore them).
As they were growing up, I told our kids "No one chooses to be homeless or to have to beg. They easily made poor decisions that led to their circumstance and conditions, but no one winds up this way voluntarily." In response to "Why does anyone give them money, when it just probably gets used for alcohol or drugs?" My answer always was "If that is what happens, it will happen anyway. You are not going to create a substance dependency habit by a single act of generosity. Maybe they buy food, though, too."
Last night, while walking out of the ballpark and preparing to encounter a handful of placard-holding, donation-cup-wielding homeless people on our walk back to the parking lot, I hit upon a new (to me) idea. I would give the homeless men and woman something they would need and could use, tangibly, and without directly supporting a substance abuse habit. With a few $1 bills in my pocket, I bought water bottles from the street vendors, who always sell them for cheap to departing fans ($3 on the way in, but $1 on the way out).
I then handed an unopened water bottle to each homeless person we encountered. I was complimented for this by a couple of strangers on the same sidewalk, to whom I offered "I think it's safe to assume that the one thing they all have in common is some measure of dehydration." Yes, being a good Sparky has me thinking about water all the time.
I felt bad about the Orioles and mathematical elimination from playoff contention, but also felt that I had hit upon a good deed and (what will be for me), an ongoing personal practice. I felt bad for my inner baseball fan, but good for me.
So what do you think? Bottled water for the homeless?