Here’s a question for which I’d appreciate some input.
I am generally a sucker for street people who ask for money. I frequent the 7-11 for quick trips for needed household items, and over the past couple of months I’ve often seen a young woman outside, just sitting there. She once asked me if I had any spare change: I gave her $10. A couple of weeks later, same question, same response.
Then a month or so after I had last given her money, I was in the same 7-11 and saw her buying lottery tickets.
Last week she saw me as I entered the 7-11, recognized me, and asked me again for “spare change.” I said “I don’t have any cash at all. Sorry!” I was not of a mind to help this young woman use my charity for the biggest scam of all time: the Virginia Lottery.
My question is this: if I am willing to part with money for a person who seems to need it, and to do so without the vetting that a charity usually gets from me, am I in any position at all to care or change my behavior because of the way the money is spent? Admittedly I have no ability to realistically judge the true need of anyone who asks me for money, but if I have some evidence that makes me wary, should I act on it?
Or, since charity (monetary or otherwise) is an important pillar of character for me, should I simply give what I can when I can and make no judgement whatsoever? After all, these people don’t have Form 990s for me to examine.
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