Beggars, Choosers, Truth.

I’ve been serving on and off at the homeless ministry for over four years now, and when volunteers say “Beggars can’t be choosers,” I always say “No, they totally can.” I don’t mean they can be spoiled, but the homeless have preferences and likes and dislikes, like everyone else. Sometimes they don’t want the pasta or the mashed potatoes or the tuna casserole and they just want the salad. Sometimes they don’t want your really old used up walkman or your backpack from middle school. And not every homeless person is there to ego-boost some wealthy person’s savior-narrative. They want the same respect and humanity and dignity we all do.

— J.S.

8 thoughts on “Beggars, Choosers, Truth.

  1. Thanks for writing this. I have set up, or worked in, foodbanks, soup kitchens and other social assistance, and, having lived in real poverty in my youth, I work hard to maintain dignity and the right to like and dislike. The biggest frustration comes with middle class Christians condemning the poor for choosing only some items. If you haven’t walked without, shut your trap about what those people have to be like who do! Sorry, this one stirs my old temper. God calls us to generosity, not judgment – compassion, not criticism – sharing, not shaming!! I better quit… God bless you with love for ministry with the homeless.


    1. Yes. I’ve seen and heard of places that give really poor quality items, and like DC Talk said, “If it’s Christian, it oughta be better.” I think there’s a balance between being spoiled with hand-outs but also being treated with dignity.


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