For people reading this blog entry that have not read my previous entries on the homeless, I encourage you to read Homeless Project Background. It will give you some background on my project. Briefly, I have made a commitment to give $20 each week to a homeless person and minimally ask their name and where they are from.
I have taken a different approach with Ron in the last few weeks. Since he says he spends most of his cash on booze and tobacco and gets most of his food for free, I have decided to only give him non-cash donations.
Last week, I saw him before I went into the local drug store. I told him I had some extra money and that I would be happy to buy him something from the store. First he asked for shampoo. He did not want a large bottle, something more medium he said. Then he asked for a comb. Not an expensive one he said, but the cheap ones you carry in your back pocket. I said I had more money and he could go on. He thought for a bit and asked for some socks.
I told him that would be no problem and started to walk away. He yelled out to me with a smile on his face that he would like some cigarettes. He quickly said he was just kidding since he knows that I would not buy them for him.
I got everything he was asking for and went back to give them to him. He was extremely grateful and gracious. The more I get to know Ron, the more I see him as a typical guy except he is stuck living on the streets. He drinks too much and has no support system. He knows he is an alcoholic. He says he wants to get off the street. I will keep befriending him. Maybe that will help.