Street-based charity

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Compare this to Bangkok, where donations of leftover food are left on the street, but in those cases meant for the animals (dogs, cats, birds, etc.) who are believed to be reanimated friends, relatives, and fellow Bangkok-ers.

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This appears to be charity with a slightly different target, leaving out bread for whoever finds it first – whether humans, crows, or otherwise. Based on how it has been left, these pieces of bread would stand out in a particular way by being first visible to someone headed to either dispose of garbage or search for sustenance. The risk with this, of course, is how that same level of visibility raises the stakes for actually taking the food – if one is sensitive about revealing their lack of resources through searching for food on the street, it would be difficult to grab this bread without anyone else noticing.

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Consider the charity infrastructure – whether formal or informal – in your own neighborhood, and in particular around food. How “visible”of an activity is partaking in charity where you are? Here in Boston, I live not far from the a large public park in central Boston, the Commons, walking home after nightfall I sometimes see a van from a local church pulled up on to a small pavilion in a park, and people lined up to be distributed a package of donated food out of the back.

2 thoughts on “Street-based charity

  1. My favorite was the group who left warm clothes under all of the viaducts and other places where the homeless tend to go for shelter in Denver. This was done in early November just as the cold season was coming – they often tucked a few surprises in the pockets as well – like a granola bar or some peanuts.

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    1. That strikes me as an incredible amount of insight and care required to express charity. As with the example of charity in Amman, I’m curious behind what motivated the charitable individuals to express their care in that particular way. For those who donated the clothes (and accompanying pocket surprises), I wonder whether they did so out of a desire for a more “direct” connection and skepticism of the “traditional channels” (i.e. throwing clothes into one of the gigantic donation boxes that are somewhat reminiscent of dumpsters and can be found sprinkled around American cities), or just because it was easier to do so (although something tells me the particularly thoughtful gesture of including some food in the pockets was not done because it was “easier”).

      Thanks for sharing the perspective from your corner of the globe, as always.

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