The post that was quoted here has been removed
The Untied Way
The sleigh bells are tinkling, if you happen to live in a heavily sleighed area, and the snow is falling (according to reliable rumors), and avatars of Santa Claus are coming to town, indeed have already arrived in town, as the gift-giving giant SanClauInc (formerly Santa Claus' Elf Factory) works out its naughty-nice ratios adjusted for morality deflation.
(skip, look at the link to see)
Here's how it works. This is the age of ATMs, so the ATM is the centerpiece of the Untied Way. Go to your ATM and take out some money. How much money is entirely your business, but the sum should be sufficient for you to notice its absence. It shouldn't hurt, but maybe it should pinch a little.
Take your money to an area of town where there are people who seek funds from passing strangers. Coincidentally, BART serves many of these areas, the result of an unprecedented BART-Untied Way collaboration, of which BART is unaware. Then you take your fistful of $20 bills and stroll down the avenue. When someone asks you for money, you give him $20. You repeat this until you are out of $20 bills. You are now an official Untied Way volunteer and are entitled to all the rights and privileges adhering thereto, including perhaps a no-host ride on a monorail back to your home.
You might expect gratitude from your clients, but you may not get it. Some of your clients may not process the denomination of the contribution, and therefore your special virtue will go unremarked. Sometimes, alas, your clients will say insulting or incomprehensible things to you. Other times, they may be overly grateful, and follow you down the street asking in stentorian tones for God to bless you. The Untied Way is not a particularly comfortable charity.
Sometimes people ask: Won't the Untied Way clients use their money foolishly? Won't they buy drugs or cheap booze or unsavory companionship? And the answer is: Yes, they might. Have you ever spent your money foolishly? Have you ever behaved unwisely? Untied Way clients are human beings like you.
Sometimes people ask: Are the Untied Way clients worthy of these donations? What does "worthy" mean? How much suffering would you want them to have? How much virtue do you feel is appropriate? It's like this: You can spend your time determining the eligibility of clients, asking them to fill out questionnaires and describe what other kinds of financial assistance they are receiving, or you can give them money and move on. The second way is more efficient.
It is the assumption of the Untied Way that people on the streets who ask for money need the money. It is not an occupation that people aspire to. The people on the streets are not middle managers seeking to supplement their incomes. They need money, and you have money. Maybe they are reduced to asking for money because they made foolish choices, but again: There but for the grace of God go you.
Here is a way to help the underserved in your community and get a heart-healthy walk at the same time. If your community does not have underserved people, other communities will lend you theirs.