Tea, the homeless and attitudes to giving

I had a slightly surreal exchange a few days back after I posted, somewhat tongue in cheek but with an underlying serious intent, on my Facebook page, concerning an experience I had a little prior.

It was about a cup of tea made in my home, when I complained to my better half that the tea didn’t taste nice, compared to normal. It turned out that she had replenished our tea bag container from tea that had been donated for the homeless rather than the tea we normally use at home, that came from Waitrose (imo the best), which had run out. Prior to that, she had replenished the active stock of tea that was meant for the soup kitchen I am involved with with our remaining Waitrose tea, rather than use the tea that which had been donated to us to be used for the homeless.

When I complained, the question was asked: why don’t we give the best we have rather than that which is of inferior quality? Having been suitably rebuked and chastened, I decided it was a good lesson to share – thus the posting. I was surprised at the discussion that followed, including those who strongly agreed with my point (and what could be rated as the best tea) to others who felt this was not an issue at all and the homeless were unlikely to notice or even care, to still more others that felt an even bigger issue to consider concerned “stuff” and the motives and logistics around getting it to them in need. The question of the type of tea we given to homeless people even led to a rift among volunteers with differing views.

But I would like to return to the original point, which I felt was not entirely got the first time round, and what I think should be a principle that ought to under gird how we go about doing things that are meant to help people, especially those less fortunate than ourselves. The contribution of those that help the needy, whatever that happens to be, is invariably welcome, and often those who have the least give the most. But just as welcome is the attitude in which we give to others. Without wanting to moralise etc., given in my experience people give for all sorts of reasons, it seems the best sort of giving is that motivated by love and wanting to give of one’s best.


One thought on “Tea, the homeless and attitudes to giving

  1. Debbi-Lou Butcher says:

    Hi John,
    I haven’t been helping out at Street Spirit for very long and in recent weeks have had so many family commitments on a Sat evening that I’ve barely been able to be there at all, however, the reason that I started to give of my time was because I want to serve Jesus. Anyway, as regards to whether people should give the ‘best’ or cheaper items, it”s very much up to the individual. I don’t really have an opinion either way but would say that ‘cheaper’ items are better value, e.g: You could probably afford double the quantity of Asda tea compared to Twinings which would mean a ‘double’ quantity of needy people being helped.

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