Once a week usually I volunteer at a charitable organization that offers a food pantry, clothing bank and emergency funding. Upstairs in this building there is an After-School program and a Summer Day Camp that also encourages participation in Family Nights and Outings. There are also special projects such as school supplies in backpacks for the summer, shoes for school, food baskets at Thanksgiving, and special help for some families at Christmas. And I’m sure I am missing some of the services, the least of which is not, their referral system. This organization is important to me because it specializes in the working poor, what I believe to be the most needy and overlooked group of people.
And yet, although I know and believe in this need I am increasingly discouraged by the attitude I see prevailing by more and more clients. This attitude is one of entitlement. I thought this was a plague of just the up and coming generation, but it is seeping through everywhere.
In July we had application for the school supplies. All clients were notified, other agencies were called and written, etc. etc. etc. All supplies were distributed to qualified applicants last week. And yet here we are 2 days before school and a woman asks me when she can get school supplies for her children. I reply that the program is over and am surprised to have the woman stand up and say, “F—K YOU!!!!! Now this woman benefited from the clothing bank and food pantry. Yet this was her reaction to me, because she had not thought of school supplies until 2 days before school.
Today I encountered 3 other people who gave me similar salutations today and one person slamming the phone down in my ear. It is one thing to ask for help – it is another to expect it. These people brought no ID or personal financial information, let alone to realize that there might be a schedule of events, and they are late. Often the answer is that we are supposed to help people. Don’t the “needy” have any responsibilities? Or that they thought we were “Christian”. Are we less “Christian” than those calling us names and using obscenities toward us?
Of ten my immediate response is first – ‘Excuse me, I would not talk that way to you, please do not talk that way to me.” Then mentally, “I don’t think you will be getting anything, ever again.” But even still as my anger seethes I realize that once again, such behavior only affects the children. If we sanction her, we sanction her children. If we tick her off, the children do without.
I wish this article had an answer. Just the easiest comes to mind immediately. Screen, screen, screen. And try to remember that anger only hurts the most victimed among us – children. How does one do it day by day? We write blogs and show up next week.
Peace and Blessings