Look at this!
A lot of people are hungry because of circumstances that beset their personal lives. Let me categorize them into groups.
First group are the happy go lucky people who rely on other people to feed them. They keep asking for leftover foods or money to get by.
Second group are those who need “money only” assistance. I came across a person of this sort who was asking for money to buy goods for his family. When I gave him sandwich, it was thrown away right in front of me.
Third group are the lazy homeless who despite their big built prefer to stay in the street and do nothing. Are they of sound mind?
Fourth are those who are part of a gang who use paupers to earn money for the syndicate. This is the group that you wouldn’t differentiate from “real” beggars. This is the reason for the DSWD’s call not to help them directly but rather through the government agencies or any non-governmental organizations.
In one of our long trips south of Philippines, I came to know a child named “Tabo.” He was seated outside our favorite hangout. He was just staring at our table. Never sounded to us that he’s hungry. Instead of giving him our leftover, I ordered a meal for him. His face showed being grateful and told me that he’s bringing the food to his family so all of them could share. His father left them. His mother lost two legs. Tabo is about ten years old.
Deeply touched by his story, I ordered for 3 more meals for his family and shelled out Php 1,000 (around $23.00). He was crying when he left. Whenever we are passing that restaurant when we have our annual pilgrim, I always look for him and would always volunteer to help.
Last year, I failed to see him. I asked the waitresses where I could find Tabo. “He can no longer leave the house ‘coz his mom has no companion,” said one of them. I was told that Tabo’s sister who used to care for their mom is now working after finishing high school.
The story of Tabo is just many a story of any other pauper. But his style attracts more help than anyone because at his tender age, he has tact and dignity. He doesn’t dress like he’s very poor. He just communicates sincerely what is in his heart.
We couldn’t blame the poor. They can’t get back on their feet simply because of their “weakness.” They need encouragement. They have to listen to those giving them pieces of advice.
The government is doing its role in guiding these people but they always return to the same life they are used to. What if the “skilled paupers” be made as resource persons to convince their flock that after all there is a brighter life if they act now and do something. The story of Tabo not only gained my patronage but also other people who came to know his story.
P.S. If you know the solution to this worldwide problem of hunger, please comment and share this post. We have to share in one way or another.