Of course, actual homeless shelters are even on TripAdvisor.
I’ll often do quite a bit of eating, trying a great variety, on my travels abroad. The goal there is to experience lots of things not to fill myself up. I won’t finish everything.
That’s rather striking in, say, Mumbai where there are so many street kids. They’re out there because begging is effective, and the most effective children aren’t just persistent but visibly disabled. I don’t really want to give money, that probably doesn’t benefit the kids as much as their handlers (though they could well have a quota..) but I will certainly give leftovers. That way I figure they’re more likely to actually eat than if I gave them money ostensibly for food.
Via Alan H. it turns out quite a few homeless live at New York LaGuardia as well.
In the Central Terminal there’s an American Express Centurion lounge. I actually wonder whether it might make sense to guest someone in. Unfortunately the LaGuardia lounge doesn’t have a shower. But they do have a buffet. I imagine American Express wouldn’t look too kindly on it.
Here’s the struggle. You can’t, as a drop-in, really do much for the homeless in any given instance. And you don’t actually know how your support would be used, although I think direct food aid is probably more effective than cash (and inviting the homeless into the lounge could create the sort of backlash that would wind up getting them kicked out of the airport altogether so maybe not the wisest move). There are charities that specialize in helping, although many o those are ineffective at best and small contributions usually just wind up encouraging the charity to solicit you more (spending more on soliciting you than you’ve given, hoping that you’re one of the folks who winds up upgrading to higher gifts in the future).
Which means that intractable problems are hard and it’s difficult to know what to do about them. There’s a moral sense that you ought to do something but often as a visitor there’s little you can do, a conflict between reality and emotion that most travelers eventually encounter.
How do you handle things, do you feel connected to the places you visit — be they foreign destinations, or domestic airports? And do you try to do anything to leave those places better off after you’ve left? If so, do you think you ever succeed? If not, why not?
I think this is actually really hard…