Something to chew on

Indulge me for a second and consider this scenario: let’s say you’re given the opportunity to donate some money to a desperate family who would use it to feed their children, but were only able to do so if you donated the same amount of money to someone you knew would use it to buy crack. Would you do it?

  • Anonymous

    I think hunger is the greatest human error we could possibly make. A crack head suffers, but no child should ever have to suffer for something they have no control over.

  • Michelle

    I’d give it. Someone who’d use the money to get crack is going to find a way to get crack whether I’m involved or not.

    I’m pretty darn sure I’ve funded crack use already, against my will: when I lived in northeast DC, I had a new bicycle stolen from my garage, and I had my car stereo ripped off from in front of my house. These things are easy to turn around for quick money. I can’t know for sure that the money went to crack, but the big old baggie of crack rocks I found in my backyard at that house one time when the fence was down for construction leaves me to draw my own conclusions about what the neighborhood’s downwardly mobile were up to in their spare time.

    So, you know. Crack gets smoked by those prone to smoking crack. It’d be a different question if the tradeoff were, say, addicting someone who had been clean, as the price of helping that family. Something like that. But your question is, would I accept a sordid status quo on one hand in exchange for a tangible improvement on the other? And that doesn’t seem so bad.

  • Anonymous

    yes…as long as I knew who the person addicted to crack was…then I would slap *intervention* on the crack persons ass.

  • Desiree

    I’d like to add, in response to those saying “I’d teach them how to make money”, food banks, etc.

    Food banks, shelters, yes those are feasible.

    But those saying you’re going to help them make a better living and so on? Really? You’re going to get them a job, a paycheck, and everything else in – oh, let’s say – AN HOUR before dinner? Well done! Bravo!

    I think I’m done spewing the acid of my angry sarcasm, now.

  • Renee

    Erg… this is a completely false analogy for the stock market bailout.

  • Anonymous

    I’d give the money.

  • Janet

    Duh. No. You circumvent the rules of the game and go to a food bank (or buy groceries at a store) and bring them actual food items. And then there’s no money changing hands that will require giving money to the ones who will buy crack.

    It’s a pretty standard rule of giving that you give the items that are needed, NOT cash.

  • Lara

    Yes–because this is a one-time thing. But if you asked me to do it on a recurring basis…I’d hesitate and ask if we couldn’t figure out a better way before I kept it up.

  • Yvonne

    Yes… but the scenario would be harder/impossible if you knew that the crack user would die from that crack… um.. that’s too far, isn’t it!

  • kat

    Absolutely! You’d help the people in need. The crack addict always has a choice whether to spend the money on crack or get off crack. It’s all about choices. The best choice, of course would be to use the money for rehab. :-)

  • Sarah

    You asked a simple question, and rather than give you a diatribe, I’ll answer it – yes. It would be worth it to help those who truly needed it.

  • Dawn

    Yes, I’d give the money. The crack addict would find a way to get it anyway and the kids might otherwise go hungry.

  • thrice

    No, I wouldn’t give money or a gift card, because it would go to crack. If I were able I would cook for the children on an immediate basis. I would try to help the parents get help, but if they were not receptive to help, I would imagine that the children shouldn’t stay in a household of crack addicts. I would worry about the children, becoming victims of child porn or prostitution.

    Having said all of the above, if I actually “knew” any of the above I would become far too emotional and probably enable everyone, because I am a sucker that way.

  • Anonymous

    My god, what a stupid question.
    I’m almost positive you are not facing that question in real life.
    It’s so stupid it’s mind boggling. What made you post it?

  • lane

    Yes. Absolutely.

  • cattitude

    hmmm…hard one. but I think the needs of the hungry family would outweigh the *sigh* outrage of feeding the crack habit.

  • Does it matter who?

    At my regular thursday volunteer work today at lunch on the serving line at our local food bank, I asked to a grown man (who could’ve been my dad/uncle), as I do to all 300 people that come through the line, “How’re you today?” 98% of time time, they answer something like “fine,” or “blessed,” or “good; and you?”

    This guy answered. “I’m hungry.”

    not in a sarcastic or mean or political way, but in a truly honest way as he eyed and picked up his plate of food (perhaps his only meal of the day). My.heart.broke.

    Whether he was a crack addict, a mentally disabled man, a child who grew up with no food his whole life, or whatever else, it wasn’t for me to judge.

    This guy was HUNGRY. For FOOD. To LIVE. Get a job?! Fine; Tell Wal-Mart to call him on the local 7-11 payphone while he showers in the rain to get ready for work. I’ll be sure to suggest that to him next week.

    And the woman standing NEXT to me today in the serving line handing out pineapple chunks *was homeless herself,* deaf, disabled, living in a group home about to be kicked out while I stood there in my heels and makeup. Humbling? Um, slightly.

    Feed the hungry people! Take my friggin money; I can’t take it with me! I was blessed with a healthier brain/family/body; I’M WILLING TO SHARE MY BLESSINGS.

  • ChickpeaGirl


  • Lauren

    #720, Lisa – I saw that email too and someone’s math is wrong. It is not $220k a person, more like $500 a person. The bailout is required so that banks can find a way to refinance people so that they can keep their mortgages – or at least thats what they should do. Everyone’s upset about the greedy Wall Street guys getting all the money, but the fact is that our society will rapidly enter a depression if all of our banks go bankrupt. They are doing it more to prevent a panic than anything else.

  • sarah

    I’m baffled that so many are assuming this is about welfare.

    The vast, vast (VAST!) majority of people on various forms of “welfare” are not buying drugs. Do you guys realize how much you get on public assistance? It’s barely enough to buy meals for a month, much less drugs.

    I have a master’s degree in social service administration and work with lots of people on “welfare” so I’m not just saying this; I know it. There are tons of studies that back this up.

  • Lisa

    Let them eat cake, and let them eat crack. If a family is desparate, they need our help, right? So we help them.

  • Amy


  • Cat

    Yes, I would. When I was little, a bum approached us on the street and asked my dad for spare change. He veerd us around the man and we kept going. I remember asking him why he didn’t give the man the change I knew he had in his pocket. He said it was because the man would probably use the money to buy drugs or booze instead of food. To this day I remember thinking that my dad was wrong, that we should have helped him. I can’t control what my donations are used for, and that’s true of giving to bums on the street and to political campaigns and to breast cancer research. I have to give with good intentions and let the universe do it’s thing.

  • rachel

    what if the family was desperate because one of the parents spent all their money on crack?

  • kmbr

    Yes. Unhesitatingly.

    People need to eat. Crackheads need crack. Sometimes for the same reasons. Life is hard at the bottom of the barrel, and we all deal with it in our own way.

    There will always be people who take advantage of a system. (See “Street, Wall: recent events). Our obligation as a civilization is to endeavor to take care of everyone, even people we don’t like, or vehemently disagree with. (See above parenthetical)

    Crack is a method of mentally escaping a reality one cannot control. Be pointlessly judgmental, or give people the tools to control their reality.

    Back in my childhood catholic days, I was impressed by the saying “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me”. Words to live by.

  • MommaStone

    Yes. It is my responsibility to help when I can regardless of how the money is used.
    It is not up to me to ensure the money is used “properly”

  • obamabot

    Everyone who is naive enough to say “WELL the crackhead is going to get it with or without me” is shifting responsibility and just deferring that THEY would be the ones fueling that single hit of addiction that could result in the DEATH of those children they just “selflessly” fed with their donation.

    By saying ADDICTS ARE ADDICTS, THE END just makes you feel okay about giving them that ability to keep on wasting your money THAT YOU “DONATED” and deferring the responsibility of this rather linear scenario.

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t you do a blog entry about how much money Obama has received from Freddie Mac/Frannie Mae? How about Chris Dodd? He should be in jail! Give me a break. You liberals are such liars it is unbelievable.
    While you are at it, why don’t you educate yourself about William Ayers! How about Tony Rezko? Rev. Wright? You liberals and your holier than though views! You are blind or just plain dumb (I think you are dumber than a sack of shit!)

  • Anonymous



    I said no because I have had the opportunity. We all have. There ARE hungry people in this world and I have never given them money. So how could I turn around and then say yes I would. I haven’t therefore I wouldn’t.

  • jafer


  • Meg

    Depends on which you find more valuable: providing for those who have not, or withholding from those that shouldn’t. Why do you ask?

  • Anonymous

    why is it that we KNOW the crack head will find the crack anyway but we don’t assume the same of the hungry family?


    #352- What’s up with you?? In one comment, you’re all “I’d only donate if I could give enough money to make sure the crackhead bought enough crack to OD”, and then in your second comment, you’re all “Don’t insult Heather.”. It just confuses me because in the first one, you portray yourself as a disgusting human being who has absolutely zero respect for the value of someone’s life, and in the next one you seem like you might actually have a heart. Make up your mind chica!

  • Beckybug

    After reading comments so far…

    Is the government using the bailout/rescue plan to alleviate the guilt they feel about the crazy web they’ve helped weave?

    Are they using it because it makes it look like they’re trying to help when they really are just enabling?

    And say we decide to give food instead of money, is giving food to the desperate hungry family enabling them to be addicted to handouts? Is any addiction different than another?

    Are they doing it because of their faith, or because of their political affiliation, or because they think it is the right thing to do? Right for who?

    If we shower money to lenders and tax breaks to others, is it really going to make the necessary change? If we don’t make a change, will the market adapt?

    I can’t make much sense of the problems that our economy and government and people are facing right now, but your question and the responses sure help me realize how other people are thinking about it, and why the solution being discussed is an immediate monetary ‘fix’.

  • Kristi

    Without thinking twice.

  • obamabot

    Donation? Sure.

    But if someone was going to throw me in jail if I didn’t? Well then you’re talking about taxes, and just playing semantics to try and prove a naive point.

  • MG

    The crackhead is going to find a fix either way. Why make an innocent family suffer?

  • carrie

    what 55 said.

  • Jen


    Frankly, I don’t care if someone does crack. It’s their body. Child poverty is a far more terrible thing then someone doing drugs. (Since it’s probably relevant, I’m a liberal Canadian.)

  • Lisa Ann

    Jesus fed the 5000 when they were hungry. He didn’t ask which of them were crack addicts or drank too much wine, or were too stupid to bring food with them. If you are going to quote the Bible, folks, read it. It’s chock full of taking care of the poor and social justice issues, both in the old and new testaments. (for those quoting the Bible.)

    For those who have never been hungry or needed to steal to survive to feed their family because their children were starving, and the food pantry was closed, and the food stamps had not yet come through, and you were too sick to work and had used up all your savings from when you were able to work, and have no access to QUALITY health care to get better enough to work…and to those have been inordinately blessed and able to work and go to school yet do not appreciate your blessings or the inordinate privileges the haves in our society enjoy compare to most of the not-haves in so many nations and in our own nation, yet are too damn selfish to share those things with others in dire need, I can’t help you.

    You see, sometimes it is not about politics. its just about humanity. many of us appear to have lost that.

    But Karma is a funny and balancing thing. (thankfully!)

    But Karma is a funny thing.

  • Meghan

    I’d donate the money without hesitation. Drug addicts aren’t lost causes and the snowball effect of keeping a family going trumps the negativity of a crackhead buying drugs. Something good WILL come of helping a family. A crackhead only hurts themselves.

    I’m off to balance something on my head while I watch the debates!

  • Lauren

    I would give it, without hesitation.

  • Amber

    Not only would I do it, I have done it. When I was in college I used to send money home to my mom (the crack addict in this scenario) in hopes that she would use a fair amount of it to feed my 3 siblings. She was far more inclined to take care of them when she was loaded and happy so the gamble typically paid off.

  • carolbrowne

    Nope. I’d give the family food, and help them get some kind of support to ensure the kids can get to school. That’s the only place I’d feel obligated to help in this scenerio.

  • Sandy

    If there was absolutely no other way to get food on the table for that family, YES.

    BUT, there always is another way. A better solution. It just takes creativity and commitment.

    Otherwise, no bloody way.

  • megan

    absolutely I would give the money. If I felt at all uncomfortable with my decision, I would give a little money to some sort of secular rehab program that has a reputation for helping addicts.

    But don’t you always wonder if you would actually do what you would hypothetically do? I wonder all the time.

  • Christina


  • Jodie

    Amazing number of giving people. I would buy food gift cards for both. You can always find a way to help others, there are many ways that don’t cost a dime. Like volunteering at the Humane Society, Homeless shelter, Food bank, Hospital etc.
    PS. I also read a number of comments that deserve to be driven over with your car, repeatedly.

  • Trickygringo

    Yes I would. If the other individual decides to harm him/herself with crack, that was still their decision.

    But I think I know where you’re going with this. Let’s change the scenario. Let’s say you’re given the opportunity to donate some money to a desperate family who would use it to feed their children, but were only able to do so if you donated the same amount of money to someone who would use it to fund burning down a man’s house and killing his family.

    In that scenario. No. I’m not going to help feed one family at the cost of the death of another.

    If we’re talking about government welfare, the problem isn’t so much that money goes to people who use it for crack instead of food (as the government has no incentive to ensure the money goes to good use), but the real problem is 60% of the money that is supposedly welfare funds (VERY conservative number) doesn’t go to either of the person in need or the crack fiend.

  • Muriel

    I’m sure someone has already said this, but I wouldn’t give money at all, since money is never the solution. (As we’ve seen time and time again.)

    I would give them food, shelter – necessities. For the same reason that I won’t give the homeless money; not because I’m cruel or cheap, but because food and opportunity is better than money.

    Money should only help implement *programs of opportunity* that teach them about *opportunity.* Otherwise, the idea of shelling out cash has always proven to fail.