One thing I've noticed talking to a few friends is their lack of charity towards others less fortunate than themselves. We were driving into a grocery store and there were panhandlers at the entrances to the parking lot. My friends were poking fun at them and making comments like “get a job” and “all they're going to use it for is booze and drugs”. Seeing some of those desperate faces made me realize how lucky I am right now. I'm dirt poor, but not to the point where I have to panhandle to get by.
Before our financial situation got as desperate as it's been these past four years, I would give money to panhandlers. I would donate money to charities. I would take things to consignment shops and donate them when I found I had too much. I would buy food just to take to the local food bank so I could help those poorer than me.
Now I rely on those places I shared with while I could. I get food from time to time from a food bank. I buy my clothes and a few of my dishes from a consignment shop. I have no spare money. I have plenty of spare time though, and with that time I have long wanted to volunteer. It's only my lack of transportation that has kept me from doing it.
I'm on SNAP and Medicaid. The food benefits aren't enough to get me through a full month, which is why I sometimes go to food banks. But it's there for me to use. I paid taxes for 20 years just so the program would be there for people to use. Now I'm in the position of needing it. I don't know how many cruel remarks about being a baby factory, being lazy, being a drain on society and I should just kill myself I get. Yes, I've heard all of them.
I've seen the shift in religions, politics, and among the general public. Instead of wanting to help the poor, the homeless, the people who aren't in a position to help themselves, they ridicule and turn away from these people. Look at what's happening to veterans. No luck finding jobs, homeless, in need of medical care they're not getting. Look at my husband and his partners. Not able to find regular jobs because of how long they've been struggling with their own business, no way to get medical help even though they need it, his two business partners aren't even able to get on food stamps because the company makes just enough money for them that it's counted as “too much”, even though they can't live on it.
If you have the ability, do something for someone. Buy a few groceries and donate them to your local food bank. Donate to consignment shops. Take a few dollars and donate them to your favorite charity. If you don't have the ability to do something financially, take some time to volunteer.