THIS MORNING THERE are quite a few unfamiliar faces wandering around downtown Quincy. At certain times of the month this happens. I suspect many of them come from a church-based group in Missouri that simply can't help certain people anymore.
So they get dumped in Quincy.
A customer just came in and was quite alarmed. "A strange man just asked me for money. He said he was homeless," the customer said. "I feel really bad for him."
Well, yes. It's hard to deal with somebody down on his or her luck. There are places in Quincy that will help. My advice is to point them toward the Salvation Army shelter at Fifth and Broadway. It's not a good idea to give them cash, because it may not be spent on the best of purposes. I am sorry if this offends you, but I've had folks on the bad side of luck tell me this themselves.
Around Christmas we had a man come in and ask to "borrow" money until the end of the week. In retrospect, I wish I'd done more to help him. Maybe take him out to eat, make sure he got home (it was a cold night), just show some compassion.
But it was Christmas and it was hectic, and it was just easier to say no.
We are charged to help those less fortunate. I will try to do better next time.
In the fall two younger guys came in to the store and said they'd been dropped off in Quincy from the church program in Missouri. They are self-admitted addicts in the recovery stage. Money wasn't necessarily an issue for them, but I was impressed because instead of asking for a handout, they asked about jobs and other things to help them get back on their feet.
I saw one of the young men the other day and he seemed to be doing pretty well. I hope he makes it. I hope he likes being in Quincy and finds the help and support he needs.
Give. And you will receive.