Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

The House of Hagar

Catholic Worker

Mustard Seed Mountain Street Paper  

Sometimes you can have a seed of an idea, but it takes time to get it planted and the right conditions for it to grow. After years of dreaming, we are excited to announce Mustard Seed Mountain Street Paper. Check it out! 

Mustard Seed Mountain

Keep Your Money-We Want Change: An Open Letter to the Sunday News-Register

Posted on July 12, 2016 at 9:20 PM




  Was it ironic coincidence that the morning Scripture Readings at Mass this morning was about the Good Samaritan (LK 10:25-37).

  Our Priest reminded us of the story.- .A “scholar of the law” asked Jesus who his “neighbor” was. Jesus told a tale of a Jewish man who fell victim to robbers. They stripped, beat and left him half-dead in a ditch. A Jewish Priest happened to be walking by and saw him, and walked to the other side of the road. A bit later a Jewish Levite walked by and saw the hurt man, but he too crossed to the other side of the street. But then a Samaritan traveler came upon him and was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them. He then lifted him and put on his own animal and took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instructions, “'Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back. ‘Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim? " He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."


  This message from Mass was in such contrast to what I came home and read in the Sunday News- Register in an article entitled “How To Handle Wheeling-Area Panhandlers”

Tears welled up in my eyes, as a poverty greater than money became more evident paragraph by paragraph, as the article’s author went on about trying to end panhandling in our area. One of my fellow Homeless Outreach Workers, Crystal Bauers, who is both a nurse and a friend, put it this way in the article’s online comment section, “The following words were used to describe panhandlers in this article: infested, human leeches, human trash, human parasites, obnoxious creeps, frauds, immoral unethical culprits, unsavory and unscrupulous characters, and miscreants. I'm embarrassed for the person who wrote it. “

The oh so recent story of the Good Samaritan had my heart reeling…and my friend’s words continued “Yes, many struggle from addiction. What you don't know is, what came first, homelessness or addiction? The human beings that are being described are also: sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, friends, and most important Human Beings.

You do not know them, or their story. Some of them are plagued by serious mental illness, which no one would pick. Some are victims of neglect, physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse throughout childhood. Some are victims of domestic violence. Some were sent through the state foster care system, which if you know anything about is Hell in itself. Some have lost their jobs, followed by their house, and everything else. Some have chronic physical illness and want to work but their illness keeps them from being able to. Some were not addicts but turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with their situation. Some do get disability but cannot live on it and afford rent in this city for what many would consider a dump.”

Suddenly, the Good Samaritan Story was very real! In the story Jesus told, both the Priest and the Levite walked by the hurt half-dead man...neither stopped to inquire what his actual problem was…OR perhaps they KNEW what it was. Perhaps, he was the sloppy town drunk, robbed by those at the local brewery, with his addiction making him an easy target. Perhaps, he laid there in a ditch, beat up, robbed, bleeding, maybe even covered in urine. Perhaps, they would have used “infested, human leech, human trash, human parasite, obnoxious creep, fraud, immoral unethical culprit/victim, unsavory and unscrupulous character, or a miscreant.” as the word to describe him -Words that would allow them to cross to the other side of the street and ignore him in his broken state. The words of the author stung in similarity: “ I implore you, completely ignore these unscrupulous and unsavory characters — who have actually been known to urinate and defecate in public — and these miscreants will have no choice but to move elsewhere or just maybe, change their devious ways! “

Maybe it is us who need to change our ways! Perhaps it has never been the Panhandlers-but how we handle ourselves that should be in question. I am friends with several people experiencing homelessness and sometimes privy to what those panhandling are hoping to collect enough money for: A phone card to call a loved one, cigarettes, a bus ticket, batteries, propane, money that would allow them in a business to drink a cup of coffee and use the restroom etc.. Many homeless do not have addictions and not all panhandlers have addictions but let’s talk about the ones that do!

Yes, there are homeless folks addicted to cigarettes, some addicted to alcohol, some who self-medicate with pot, and a few who choose even more deadly drugs – this is true. However, speaking back to the author of the article, “ I hate to be the harbinger of one of life’s realities”, addicts are going to have addictive behaviors. These behaviors typically are the same in both the rich and the poor. The rich just have more ways to hide it… In this Valley, unfortunately almost all of us know someone who is dealing with a family member who has an addiction. Ignoring them is not the answer. Is it a surprise that someone sick with an addiction would portray sick behavior or make unhealthy choices? Before we write them off however, maybe we should do as Crystal suggested and take a moment to understand what we are seeing.

The traveling Samaritan in Jesus’s story was able to do this! The Samaritan had not fallen prey to prejudice, or been robbed of the ability to SEE the HUMAN in front of him. Because the Samaritan, did not see a label, be it of a “drunk”, “miscreant” or otherwise, he was able to SEE a hurting human and access the care he truly needed.

If we started from this view point, we might begin to see “addiction” is often the secondary infection of another wound or illness. We might begin to understand how being raped night after night as a child might lead someone to try to escape in drugs.

Or let’s talk about HOMELESS Veterans. With the nearly 50,000 Veterans that are homeless on any given night. So what do we call those who “fly their sign” in hopes of getting enough money for a pack of cigarettes and the bottle of Jack that drowns out the war that won’t stop following them. Sadly, 22 Vets a day take their own life. Surely the use of derogatory words does not help, if they have found they have found themselves behind a piece of begging cardboard.

Or the fellow who can’t get a job, because he doesn’t have an ID. He can’t get the ID until he gets a birth certificate. Which he needs $50.00 to order from the state he was born in…except he doesn’t have $50.00. And then he needs to get his Social Security card, which he needs an ID to get, but he needs the birth certificate and proof of an address to get a state ID…If he gets the birth certificate; he then needs to find a way to Moundsville…no buses go to Moundsville…So he needs money for a taxi from Wheeling to Moundsville (at least $40.00) and $7.00 for the ID- That is, if he can find someone to write him a letter and let him use their address for the ID.. So after he has rounded up $97.00 and an address, he can then he can go back to the Social Security to get his card and try to find a job…All this of course can only be easily navigated if he does not have any cognitive delays.

OR the "Shamed", what happens to the person who has lost everything, and then has to poop and pee outside because no one will let “that homeless” person in their home or business to go to the bathroom. How crushed does a soul become when it is stuck outside and cannot even properly wash up after going to the bathroom, hoping to have toilet paper -and hoping you are not a female with feminine issues. At what point does the soul become so crushed it becomes despairing or savage, or in a state of survival seeks comfort in a temporary fix? The down trodden, the abused, the abandon, the addict, the mentally ill, the Vet with PTSD or the mentally handicapped …the list goes on and on - All these can be found in the ditch of poverty.

So what about panhandling? Let’s talk about justifying someone’s ability to write off, wish away, or demean humans. It is much easier to call people names, to label them with crude terms, and dismiss ourselves from caring, when we can explain how little the “other” deserves OUR RESPECT. When we cannot show humane respect or care about someone, we cannot accurately assess what they need to be healthy… If our lens is a demeaning one, then we cannot see that ignoring these folks is the last thing they need!

The author of the article on panhandling hopes, that if funds are withheld “the low-lives” will just leave our area or change their ways…This has nothing to do with healing the problem –Just making the “low lives” go away –become someone else’s problem- not his. Yet this is not what Jesus teaches about “loving one’s neighbor”. He instructs that we are suppose to care and have Mercy on those in life’s ditches. Here is the rub- It is not just what we do but how and why we do it.

If it is just because you don’t want to see “human trash” and don’t want to waste your money-Keep it! You are not in a position to help a suffering person anyhow and have your own ditch to get out of. If however, you care, then there are some serious things to consider- Give CHANGE!

The Samaritan in the story really is a good example for us in this situation. He is traveling and on his way to some place. Isn’t this often our predicament also when we see panhandlers. We are on the move. Sometimes with a bit of time to spare and sometimes not. The Samaritan, could see there were at least three needs. These are the ones I would like to address. First, the Samaritan did not act with prejudice but with humanity. Treating someone with respect and humanity is first. Second, acknowledge the immediate need and do what is in your ability-Even if it is only to Pray. Third, recognize that long term care and healing is needed and financially support those able to do it!

When Jesus asked who the “Good Neighbor” was in His tale, the Scholar of Law answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." How do we as a community, go and be merciful...Well, mercy allows for Change and Healing, so this is a good thing to keep in mind as we decide on OUR actions towards our hurting community members.

“Change” might not always come in the form of money, and Healing might not only come from a doctor in a white coat. As a Community, we are also a family of sorts. And as Christians, we are called to help create Heaven’s family and help those in the “ditches”, the same way God came into each of ours. So what do we do?

1. Give a small moment of Humanity-Smile and treat those panhandling with kindness. By showing Respect, you are also teaching it.


2. Carry “Blessing Bags” – Ziploc bags filled with useful items like a soft granola bar (some folks don’t have teeth) or other snacks, chap stick, baby wipes, q-tips, tissues, playing cards, tooth brush, tooth paste, razor, shaving cream, socks, feminine items for ladies, seasonal items such as sunscreen or hand warmers AND put in phone numbers of area resources that can help. An addict “jonesing” might not get excited about it at the moment, but it will all be useful items that they need at some point. That is care! Helping them hopefully get one day closer to treatment. The phone numbers will not only give them access to further help but show them you care about their long term future as well.


3. If you have time, find out what they really need. Be direct. Tell them you do not have cash, but will go to the store for a small item. Many folks will tell you, “I need a phone card”, “batteries” , “A pack of smokes”, “food”. Ask them their name and use it while talking to them. Then decide if you can help them with that need. (I am an ex-smoker and I tell them that. So I also tell them I cannot buy cigarettes because that was my addiction, so I ask them to tell me something else I can go to the store for.) Again, carry cards with local resource phone numbers on it. Give it to them and pray with them or tell them you will –and do it.


4. If you decide to give money, give as a secondary action. Remember “Change” is what you really want to give them. Tell them! “Hey Bro/Sista, it’s only a little bit of money but I’m praying to a big God for you friend.” –and then do it.


5. Got Work? – If you have a small job that you are comfortable offering-do. There are several homeless who are very skilled in yard work and small engine and construction but do not have an id to get a "regular" job – Call an organization that works with the homeless and see if there is anyone they would recommend.


6. Give a Voice. - If you have time, ask them. “Hey I want to get involved with local agencies helping those who are struggling. Tell me one thing you think would help, because I want to tell them what you think.” The poor are not often asked what they think.


7. It should always be a human right to ask another human for help. However, if you ever see someone being aggressive or in a “crisis” state-Call the police. It might be the opportunity to get them to help.


8. Give both money and time to local organizations helping the poor. Also by helping, you’ll soon find you know almost all the names, and stories of those standing on corners and you’ll have a better understanding of their circumstances. This will add another layer in being better able to access the longer term care they really need.

9.Don't pass the buck! Engage in finding a solution by learning the real dynamic of the problems. Help create creative solutions (both through organizations and community efforts) ,and policies that work (like a mobile ID center that comes to Wheeling once a month) both locally and on a state and federal level.


10. Point out prejudicial and inhumane behavior. When we allow someone to demean, devalue or dismiss a human in our community for whatever reason they feel justified to do so, we are opening the door for someone else to treat another in the same manner for whatever reason they hold. Be it socio-economic, race, gender, religion, what-ever, we should be striving for a more connected caring community because we are a Friendly City-This is healthy…I’m holding my cup out to you-Wheeling for that!


Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.


Reply supreme clothing
5:19 AM on May 25, 2022 
A lot of thanks for every one of your work on this website. Kate really likes doing investigation and it is easy to see why. A lot of people know all regarding the powerful mode you convey helpful things through this blog and in addition inspire participation from other ones on this subject matter and our child is certainly studying a lot. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You have been performing a tremendous job.
supreme clothing
Reply yeezy 350
5:19 AM on May 25, 2022 
I must convey my passion for your generosity in support of men who need help with this issue. Your very own commitment to passing the message all-around came to be really good and has continually made associates much like me to achieve their desired goals. Your personal valuable key points denotes a whole lot a person like me and a whole lot more to my office workers. Best wishes; from each one of us.
yeezy 350
Reply golden goose
5:19 AM on May 25, 2022 
Thank you so much for giving everyone remarkably terrific possiblity to read from this blog. It can be so pleasurable plus full of fun for me personally and my office acquaintances to search your website at a minimum thrice in a week to learn the fresh things you have. And lastly, I am also usually impressed considering the splendid thoughts you serve. Certain 3 areas in this article are surely the best I've ever had.
golden goose
Reply giannis antetokounmpo shoes
5:19 AM on May 25, 2022 
My husband and i felt absolutely ecstatic when Emmanuel managed to finish off his preliminary research out of the precious recommendations he had through the web site. It's not at all simplistic to just continually be offering steps other folks have been selling. And we all keep in mind we have got you to give thanks to for this. The most important explanations you have made, the simple site navigation, the friendships you can help foster - it's everything extraordinary, and it is leading our son in addition to us believe that that topic is satisfying, which is certainly particularly fundamental. Thank you for the whole thing!
giannis antetokounmpo shoes
Reply chrome hearts store
5:19 AM on May 25, 2022 
My husband and i were really joyous Raymond could finish up his studies from your ideas he grabbed from your very own web site. It's not at all simplistic to simply possibly be giving for free techniques which often many others have been making money from. And now we understand we have got the blog owner to appreciate for this. All the illustrations you made, the simple website menu, the friendships you will help promote - it's got many fabulous, and it's facilitating our son in addition to us reckon that this topic is entertaining, which is certainly particularly mandatory. Many thanks for the whole lot!
chrome hearts store
Reply golden goose
9:44 AM on May 25, 2022 
I wanted to type a word in order to say thanks to you for all the precious strategies you are placing on this site. My extended internet research has at the end of the day been paid with awesome details to exchange with my close friends. I would repeat that many of us site visitors are rather blessed to dwell in a fantastic community with many outstanding individuals with good tricks. I feel truly happy to have discovered your web page and look forward to really more brilliant times reading here. Thanks once more for everything.
golden goose
Reply kyrie 7 shoes
12:27 PM on May 27, 2022 
I wanted to compose a remark in order to thank you for some of the amazing ways you are giving here. My incredibly long internet investigation has now been rewarded with incredibly good details to share with my pals. I would mention that many of us website visitors actually are very much lucky to exist in a superb network with many awesome professionals with interesting strategies. I feel truly blessed to have used your entire website page and look forward to plenty of more brilliant moments reading here. Thanks a lot again for everything.
kyrie 7 shoes
Reply nike off white
5:36 PM on May 27, 2022 
My spouse and i ended up being absolutely delighted Albert could do his preliminary research via the precious recommendations he made out of your web pages. It is now and again perplexing to simply find yourself giving away helpful tips which often the others might have been trying to sell. And we also discover we've got you to thank because of that. Most of the illustrations you have made, the easy web site menu, the friendships you help to create - it's got all incredible, and it's facilitating our son in addition to the family know that that situation is satisfying, which is certainly extraordinarily indispensable. Thank you for all the pieces!
nike off white
Reply birkin bag
4:44 AM on May 28, 2022 
Thank you for all your hard work on this blog. My mom delights in setting aside time for internet research and it is easy to see why. A lot of people hear all concerning the powerful method you produce powerful guidance through the web blog and as well cause participation from the others on this idea then my child has been being taught a lot of things. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You are doing a really great job.
birkin bag
Reply jordan shoes
5:29 AM on May 29, 2022 
I precisely desired to thank you so much all over again. I'm not certain the things I might have created in the absence of the type of smart ideas provided by you concerning such subject matter. It seemed to be a scary situation in my circumstances, but looking at a specialised fashion you handled it made me to jump over contentment. I am just happy for this guidance and even sincerely hope you recognize what a great job that you're doing instructing others with the aid of your web blog. Most likely you haven't got to know any of us.
jordan shoes
Reply paul george shoes
9:17 PM on May 29, 2022 
I would like to express my love for your kind-heartedness for visitors who need help with this area of interest. Your special commitment to getting the message across appears to be exceptionally powerful and have continually empowered guys and women like me to achieve their dreams. Your informative guidelines indicates a lot to me and even further to my mates. Thanks a lot; from all of us.
paul george shoes
Reply golden goose
3:07 AM on May 30, 2022 
I want to express my appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this dilemma. After looking out throughout the the web and getting solutions that were not helpful, I figured my life was well over. Existing without the presence of answers to the difficulties you have fixed through your main guideline is a serious case, and the kind that would have adversely affected my entire career if I hadn't discovered your blog. Your personal capability and kindness in controlling every aspect was precious. I'm not sure what I would've done if I hadn't encountered such a thing like this. I can also at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot so much for your impressive and sensible guide. I will not be reluctant to recommend your blog post to anyone who desires recommendations on this subject matter.
golden goose
Reply supreme t shirt
7:05 AM on May 30, 2022 
I simply had to thank you very much once more. I'm not certain the things that I could possibly have tried in the absence of the type of basics shared by you over such theme. Completely was a very terrifying case in my view, nevertheless witnessing a expert way you processed it took me to leap for joy. I will be thankful for this information and in addition expect you find out what a powerful job that you're putting in training most people through the use of your web site. More than likely you haven't come across any of us.
supreme t shirt
Reply bape clothing
11:17 AM on May 30, 2022 
I'm also commenting to let you know what a magnificent discovery my girl obtained using yuor web blog. She came to find a wide variety of things, not to mention what it's like to possess a marvelous giving style to have certain people without problems know precisely several very confusing subject areas. You truly did more than visitors' expectations. Thanks for displaying the powerful, dependable, explanatory not to mention unique thoughts on this topic to Gloria.
bape clothing
Reply alexander mcqueen outlet
8:44 AM on May 31, 2022 
I am only writing to make you understand of the remarkable discovery my child had going through your webblog. She mastered such a lot of pieces, most notably how it is like to possess a marvelous teaching character to have the others very easily know precisely a number of extremely tough subject matter. You undoubtedly surpassed readers' expectations. I appreciate you for presenting these effective, safe, edifying and also unique guidance on your topic to Evelyn.
alexander mcqueen outlet
Reply kyrie spongebob
11:01 PM on May 31, 2022 
I'm just commenting to make you understand what a helpful encounter my wife's child found reading through your web page. She came to understand a good number of issues, which include what it is like to have an incredible coaching mindset to let the mediocre ones effortlessly know various multifaceted subject areas. You really exceeded our expected results. Thank you for providing those invaluable, trusted, explanatory not to mention unique thoughts on that topic to Emily.
kyrie spongebob
Reply jordan shoes
8:53 AM on June 3, 2022 
I precisely wanted to thank you very much yet again. I am not sure the things I could possibly have carried out without the type of thoughts shared by you regarding my field. It has been a real intimidating scenario for me, however , understanding this skilled strategy you processed the issue took me to leap with delight. Now i am happy for this service and even have high hopes you are aware of a great job your are doing instructing other individuals by way of your webpage. I am certain you have never come across any of us.
jordan shoes
Reply alexander mcqueen outlet
11:52 AM on June 7, 2022 
I want to point out my passion for your kindness for all those that really want help on this one issue. Your personal commitment to passing the message throughout ended up being exceedingly practical and have frequently empowered professionals much like me to achieve their goals. Your own warm and friendly guide indicates a great deal a person like me and even more to my office colleagues. Many thanks; from each one of us.
alexander mcqueen outlet
Reply steph curry shoes
2:06 PM on June 9, 2022 
I in addition to my pals have already been looking through the best things located on the blog while all of the sudden I got a horrible suspicion I had not thanked the website owner for those tips. These ladies ended up for this reason very interested to see them and have without a doubt been loving those things. Appreciation for actually being really accommodating and then for making a decision on such helpful information millions of individuals are really eager to know about. My personal honest regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.
steph curry shoes
Reply golden goose sale
10:29 PM on June 9, 2022 
I want to show my passion for your generosity for men who need assistance with this important concept. Your special commitment to passing the message up and down came to be pretty invaluable and have in most cases made guys much like me to arrive at their endeavors. Your new informative tutorial signifies this much a person like me and especially to my colleagues. Many thanks; from each one of us.
golden goose sale