It was wet and rainy out at Gallery Place, Chinatown. I had just walked out of the movie theater with a few of my cousins and looked left to see a balding homeless man wearing dirty clothes and holding out a battered and black baseball hat. He shook it every couple of seconds revealing a handful of change, leading me to know that it would be long before he had a whole dollar. Everyone was walking past him, only glancing and not bothering to listen to his soft cries of “change please”.

Because of these sorry sights, I believe that you should think twice before you decide to ignore a homeless person because it’s good to help people, majority of them aren’t lying, and they need all the help they can get.

First of all, helping homeless people is a good thing. For example, the golden rule says to treat someone the way you want to be treated. Imagine if you were unlucky enough to become homeless. Wouldn’t you want someone to help you so that you can get back on your feet? Also, you’ll feel good once you make someone’s day better. As a result, you will be seen as a nice person who likes to help others. However, if you don’t want to give them your money, you don’t have to! You can give the give them clothes or the rest of your lunch, I’m sure they would appreciate it. Try being nice at least once in a while.

Secondly, not every homeless person is lying. There might be hustlers on the street trying to take your money, but who would waste their time that way? Even they wouldn’t use that scheme. Most homeless people won’t spend your money on beer or alcohol like someone may have told you when you were little. If you give a homeless person money, I’m pretty sure that they won’t spend it on beer or cigarettes or drugs. Think about it: you’re on the corner of a rainy street and starving when someone gives you five dollars. What do you do? Buy beer or a pack of cigarettes? Buy more drugs? No! You buy food! Who would waste a whole five dollars on something that’s not going to get you anywhere?

Finally, homeless people really need your help. Out of the thousands of homeless people in the U.S., hundreds of them starve to death each year. Does this look fake to you? I’m not saying that you have to give all of your money to them, but a little help will do them good. They can save up to buy a decent meal or a ride to a shelter.

While you may still say that you don’t want to give homeless people anything, you should strongly consider helping them out. Next time you see a homeless person, give them something. A dollar, a soda, or a jacket to keep them warm can make a big difference in their lives.