The Fallacy of “A Hand Up Not A Hand Out”

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, 

to be honourable, to be compassionate,

to have it make some difference that you have

 lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Fallacy of “A Hand Up Not A Hand Out”

 I have touched on this subject before in one of my newsletters, but I think it is worth mentioning again.

There are some capable people who end up homeless because of life circumstances. I know of one international corporate executive, who in his younger years, ended up being homeless for a period of time. But people like this aren’t common. 

I’d like to talk about one young man who was referred to me recently by a homeless shelter.

This man (“Jacob”) in his 20’s had looked at a house I recently set up for homeless people a few weeks ago. He said he was interested in living there and that was the last I heard from him. On Thursday he turned up unannounced and said he was moving in. This caused a few problems, but we worked around these issues.

When I saw him on Friday, he had no money, no food and was hungry. Being Easter Friday, most supermarkets were closed and even Creative Cuisine (our frozen food supplier) was closed. We had no food in storage, so he went without on Friday. It’s not ideal, but lots of people in Brisbane don’t eat every day.

On Saturday morning, I bought Jacob a $100 Coles gift voucher and went to Creative Cuisine and picked up 50 frozen dinners for Jacob and the others living there.

On Saturday afternoon I received a phone call from someone who lives in the house with Jacob. They said Jacob had locked himself out of his room. Back I go to the property to let him in and see that his windows are wide open. I climb in the window and open up his door. He just didn’t think to climb in his window.

I noticed Jacob hadn’t made his bed. We had bought him a new sheet set for his bed. I asked him why he didn’t make his bed. He said the sheet didn’t fit. Jacob was trying to use the top sheet as the bottom sheet and the bottom sheet was in the cupboard, (because he didn’t know what to do with it).

I made his bed for him.

Jacob wants a job in Coles, but he will never get a job in Coles. He is so intellectually impaired that he will always need a “hand out”. We can (and will) try and give him a “hand up”, but the reality is that he will always need to be supported. It is not his fault, it is just the way it is. He was dealt a bad deal in life.

So the next time you hear someone say the homeless or disadvantaged need a hand up and not a hand out, you will know the truth. Some people will need a hand out for the rest of their life. That is just the reality of the situation and no slogan can change that.

We rely completely on donations and receive no government money.

if you could donate the cost of a cup of coffee a day or a dollar a day, we would really appreciate it. Even 50 cents a day would help. If you can’t afford that, then maybe we can help you with a food parcel every week. These are tough times. Either way, maybe you can help us, or we can help you.

The choice is yours. 

Go to our donate tab on this website or deposit to:

Community Friends

Bank of Queensland

BSB 124001

A/c no. 21808940

Tax deductible. 

Till next time
Mark McDonnell
Community Friends.

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