Monday, February 6, 2017

Giving to Needy?

We were at a Walmart in Phoenix tonight when we were approached by a lady.  She said her baby needed diapers and food.  I asked her what size diapers.  She said size six.  I gave her some pullups and asked her what kind of food she wanted for her baby.  She said cooked chicken, bread and avocadoes.  I told her I would buy her food.  I went in and bought her a cooked chicken, bread and bananas.  I brought them back out to her.  She said thank you and stayed where she was with an older guy whom she introduced as her dad.

I think that I was likely lied to and she just wanted money for drugs or whatever.  However, I cannot walk away from somebody who says they have a hungry baby/child.

What would you do?  Walk away?  Give her money?  Or buy food for her?

I'm not looking for affirmation either way.  I'm just curious.  We don't really have homeless people where we live because it is bitterly cold and a really low unemployment rate.


  1. I would have probably handed her some money. It is a nice thing that you have done. I cannot pass up anyone who says they are hungry too. However, this is getting impossible to keep up with where I live. The Turkish Government let in 3 million (three million! yes) refugees fleeing Syria over the course of last few years and there are lots of Syrian families pan-handling on the streets of Istanbul. I have very mixed feelings about this.

  2. I likely would have done what you did, mostly because she didn't ask for money, but asked for specific food/diapers. I reserve the vast majority of all of my charitable giving through organized sources to have the most impact (i.e. local food charity, national organizations, etc), but reserve a small amount for times like this. I like to believe the best in people, despite the odds.

    1. I know this used to be considered the "safe" way to give, but she could match right back in that Walmart and return the stuff for store credit.

  3. I would have bought the food too. In fact, my husband did the very same thing years ago. He walked around the store with the lady and bought her a few items she asked for. He also wondered if she really just wanted money for drugs. The food she picked out was just junk, but he bought it for her. Then, after he paid, she asked for a ride home! He said no.

  4. I hate to be cynical but you are probably right about her - but you did the right thing. If she truly had that need you filled it and if she didn't she likely cant unload the chicken for drugs so probably ate it :)

  5. I would be a sucker for the diaper thing. Prior to the Katrina coverage and the footage of people reusing disposable diapers, it never occurred to me that diapers could be such a hardship for many people because you can't buy them with SNAP. I always assumed that if you were "poor", you used cloth diapers. Of course, now I've come to realize that access to a washing machine or even a reliable water source to wash cloth diapers is a stretch for many. I am a big fan of diaper and menstrual product donation ... I can't imagine being a woman/mom without reliable access to either.

  6. I'm not certain what I would do. Especially when she was with someone else. I might recommend they go down to our local welfare office or to one of the local shelters. Not very nice of me, but I'd be suspicious of their motives.

  7. Eh Walmart is a hotbed for scams like this. My BIL's girlfriend used to take her two year old and go "bumming" as she called it. AKA, she stood outside walmart trying to get cash and goods. She would return said goods for store credit and buy other stuff. I wouldn't donate to an individual. We have a plethora of organizations who help women who truly need help, YWCA, local churches, battered women's shelter. I would donate to them instead.