Since I’ve been Living in my van I’ve been trying off and on to talk to homeless women.

There was one in the library.  She smelled and looked really, really bad.  The librarian was casting disparaging looks at her then looking at me since I was sitting next to her.  I asked the woman if she wanted something to eat.  She answered quite clearly “no” then took off.  I kind of chased her down and told her I was in a similar circumstance and wondered if there was anything she needed.  Again, “no”.

Then the other day I chased down (maybe I should stop doing that) a woman that looked homeless.  She didn’t look too bad and she didn’t smell but her clothes were very shabby.  I asked if she was homeless and she said “no”.  I offered to buy her lunch.  She briefly considered it, and then turned me down.

This isn’t going well.  I talked to Mooch about it.  I’ve learned that chasing people down is not such a good idea.  I sure wouldn’t like someone do-gooder chasing ME down!  SCARY!  He said not to ask people if they’re homeless.  For safety reasons alone, women aren’t going to say yes to that question.  He said you might ask the person, “Where do you stay?” instead.

The other day I may have accidentally found a way to break the ice with people.  I THINK what I saw at the 7 Eleven that day was a man buying lottery tickets for homeless people.  I THINK what I saw is three such folks scratching away intently at the cards.  I have different eyes now and I’m pretty sure that’s what I saw.  Now I don’t think that scratcher cards are going to change someone’s life unless they win big but for a couple of minutes those folks felt a little excited about life.  We all know that feeling.  And maybe if I tried the “scratcher approach” with someone, next time they might let me buy them a cup of coffee and that will lead to a friendship.

My readers may think it’s strange that after avoiding homeless people like the plague at night that I seek them out during the day.  I don’t think it’s strange though.  Nighttime is sleep time and I need to be very, very safe because I’m not alert when I’m sleeping.  In the daytime though, I can try to carry out my God’s command to love my neighbors.  Since the entire world is my home now, I have a lot of neighbors!  But I seek out the ones that need help the most.  The ones with no family.  The ones that have made too many mistakes and can’t ask for family help anymore.  And especially those who paid into the system for years and are now told that they don’t qualify for help. (I can’t tell you how angry that makes me.)

I can’t do much but I figure I can do it cheap because I don’t have any administrative costs, I don’t take a salary.  I’m being a little sarcastic now because as many of you know, charities only have to use 10% of the money they receive to actually help people.  That’s sickening.  I hope this Christmas folks will reconsider sending that $10-$100 to Africa and give it directly to an American that’s hurting.

About Maureen, Living in a Van

I'm a free-sleeper living in a van in the prettiest part of the world. I do this partly due to financial circumstances and partly because I love a good adventure.
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6 Responses to Scratchers!

  1. Ryu says:

    I think your heart was in the right place. Everyone has pride. It’s hard for a man to recieve charity. Especially pity. There is a sort of superiority in charity and giving; I’ve felt it myself. It is a strange emotion.

    Nothing is free. I can understand what Mooch told you. Imagine accepting a free meal from a stranger – what do you owe him in return? Friendship,a thanks, or as might be more common, other things?

    I hope that this does not sound too vile for your blog. There is a man, Advocatus Diabolo, who would buy homeless girls dinner and proposition them. There is some discussion of it here, and you may look around a bit more to study it further:

    That was interesting about charities only having to give away 10% of their gross. Didn’t know that. I should be curious to learn more.

    • Maureen says:

      I can’t find a link regarding the charities spending so maybe that was a rumor I heard. Sorry about that!

      • B says:

        I’ve heard the same thing. Their “administrative costs” take a significant proportion of what you contribute. And this is even for highly considered charities like Red Cross. I wonder if a better way to help would be go to with one of the places that make micro-loans to people. At least research your charity and try to find out how much of your donation actually makes it to those who need help!

  2. Charles says:

    Be very,very careful of rough homeless, male or female, do not let them see your vehicle. They are very sharp and travel a lot, you might think you are far from your sleep area when you approach them but a short bus ride or train hop might put them on your street. Be safe

  3. Maureen says:

    Thank you , that’s good advice. I haven’t told any roughs yet that I’m living in my van. That wouldn’t be too smart.

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