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Ad Campaign

In need or just lazy?


aaaaaaaaaaaaaa's picture



What's in his hand? A cup, or an iPod?

If we use the excuse of "laziness" for not searching for our spirituality then we haven't figured out what spirituality is. In other words, forcing or disciplining yourself to become spiritual misses the whole point.

jesse's picture



This is good. If you have ever helped with the feeding of the homeless at your Church this will hit home. Congrats on making a point very well. Jesse

Birthstone's picture



my husband noticed this one - the others didn't spark him at all, but this one did. It just screamed all sorts of struggles that happen here - how do you get a good job without experience? how do you get experience without a job? What if you got injured? what if you have a mental illness? and no one can see it? what if .... Are people lazy? were they raised to expect too much, and got a nasty surprise?
good questions - I don't have answers

Jared's picture



if you have most of you senses working you should to

Sid's picture



I like the ad but perhaps because it makes me the most uncomfortable of any of the others. If I was absolutely honest I have asked that same question (not proudly) silently to myself. I think I am starting to realize that I'd be best not to find an answer. As soon as I have found one - it means I have made a judgement on the person in the picutre (or sitting on the sidewalk of downtown St. John's) without knowing any details about his/her struggles, pain or circumstance. Thanks for making me somewhat uncomfortable today.

Cara81's picture



what would you have used the money for if you decided not to give? would it be more important?

melanie1alison2's picture



It's my experience very few are poor, unemployed and/or addicted, because they have had such a great life. Many emotional and haunting scars, many behavioural disabilities (i.e. never taught when young) are not clearly visible during brief contact. People aren't homeless, because they enjoy it, they see no other possibility within their personal reach. I think it's a haunting ad (which is good), but also cruel - because I'm sure some who have known nothing but prosperity will agree with the 'lazy' judgement.
I do agree with these 'some' though, that chronically staying in the victim-role helps no-one. In my opinion one of the main challenges is to help somebody who's down and out to see, that it perhaps wasn't their fault in the past, but that it is their responsibility and choice in the present - within the invisible (and fortunately changeable) boundaries of learnt behaviour.

Wonderwoman's picture



Before Christmas my daughter (15) told me one of her classmates had spent the afternoon on a busy street and made 60 bucks, panhandling. Then he went home to his 3000 square home, laughing at how smart he was. This made me sick. Unfortunately this is not an isolated case in this city. People get cynical.

Hope40's picture



I think the only thing in his hands is the cardboard sign--but it does kind of look like an Ipod.

My first response to this ad when seeing it today in my mom's gardening magazine was---yeah that is a good one. I really like that it gives voice to the "just lazy" response that can be heard from within at times. It is a convenient point of view because it offers a disconnect in relation to the person in need. If they are just lazy you don't have to worry about doing anything about it. Sometimes the recognition and giving to a person in need can create an "us and them"disconnect putting the giver in a position of power. It can be a confusing dynamic.

If you allowed yourself the freedom to respond to this person without judgement or a sense of obligation then what might happen?

pt3788's picture



The situaion in Vancouver is much worse than in many eastern cities. Due to climate and lax laws we seem to draw the indgent from across Canada. Adding to this is the Mental Health issues that have been swept under the carpet by provincial governments since the late 80's. Throw in drugs and crime and you have a real witches brew of dispare. Within blocks of the downtown east side you have people living in 18million dollar condos. Jobs are plentieful here but wages are low to begin with while rents (if you can find a place) are very high.. Where is the incentive for these people to turn their life around before they hit rock bottem?

cooper's picture



This is a terrific ad to provoke discussion. I think that this ad should foster understanding and tolerance for less fortunate persons, if we could just get poeople to consider all the possible reasons why a good-looking, seemingly somewhat healthy, intelligent young man be unemployed. The ad seems to convey as sense of honesty and openess on the part of the young man, which is just perfect for the discussion that should ensue. Cooper

InannaWhimsey's picture



It reminds me that the reason why any of us are here is us.

It is people. We are here to be with each other, share with each other, laugh with each other, cry with each other, make mistakes with each other, disagree with each other, watch sunsets with each other, grieve with each other.

Everything else we create to deal with life is topping on the sundae.

It is people. And as people we should learn to laugh at the philosophies that keep us from being people. Keep us afraid of the other, or cleave to some some absolute standard, be angry or distrustful because of the appearance of 'lazyness' or bad planning.

It is people. Learning to live with all the difference (and the similarities), sharing our existence with each other.

This is the only thing we know for certain. Being unsure and afraid of the homeless is alright, just, remember, they are just like you in every way, unique.

If it helps, get angry, get disgusted with that part of society that wants you to be apathetic, to be distrusting, to think that money and houses are the only things worth worrying aboot. Righteous anger can be very motivating :3

Everyone reminds me of me, and what I am uncomfortable in someone else is something I find uncomfortable aboot myself. Life is also, in a way, learning how to be comfortable with myself, the bad the good and the indifferent.

The meaning of life is people,

saltheart's picture



I get this alot. So many hard working folk, folk who figure that life was not easy for them but they worked hard and held it together, get frustrated by those they see as taking advantage - of the system but also of the average person walking by on the street. The sad thing is that everyone of these hardworking folk would consider it both a privilege and a responsibility to help out someone who was having a hard time. They want to be part of a caring community where a person can count on the neighbours. But there are just so many in need and so many who seem to make such bad choices that these good peole end up feeling they've been taken advantage of and that feeling brings the accusation of laziness.

Life can be tough. Some can find the opportunities and the fortitude to pull through and some need help. Some will never get it together no matter how hard they try. And yes, some will stop trying.

My question is not "what have they done to get themselves into this mess?" but "who do I want to be? What would I hope for if I ever found myself there?" I remember the recession of the 80's. I've been close enough to the edge of ruin to know how easy it is to find yourself in need and how hard it is to find the path back out.

I never want to be where this man is. But I know that I could be.

Band's picture



You can judge a people by how they treat the least among them...or something along those lines.

Abeliever's picture



Sometimes it is difficult to know where to draw the line. In Winnipeg, panhandlers are a dime a dozen, and often the same ones have the same old stories if you meet them, which makes you wonder are they REALLY in need? Those types make it difficult for those who are truly in need. I never know whether to give them change, or buy them a burger. We don't want to feed their addictions. Something must be done, and I think the church needs to keep pushing the government to make homelessness as big a priority as the environment. Bravo, Rev Al Tysick for all his work in this area in Victoria BC!!!!

Wood's picture



This is the first ad from the whole wonder cafe campaign that really caught my eye. It highlights a problem which both church and society have struggled to formulate an effective response. The issue is very complex; for amongst those who are in desperate need, are those who would con well meaning folks and agencies out of limited resources. What is our faithful response? Are we doing justice and loving mercy, or are we enabling a destructive way of life? How do you respond as a disciple of Jesus Christ, who has taught us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked? There are no easy answers. I would suggest that we not give up, but continue to struggle with the big questions.

sighsnootles's picture



wow... thank you for that response, wood.

definetly well thought out...

The_Omnissiah's picture



"I like the ad but perhaps because it makes me the most uncomfortable of any of the others. If I was absolutely honest I have asked that same question (not proudly) silently to myself."

Wow, that exactly mirrors my experience.

This was the Add that first made me decide to check out Wondercafe...

I believe that there are so many exceptions, so many people taking advantage of people's sympathy, and so many people actually in need, that to try and figure it all out is nearly impossible. It's hopeless really, rather depressing when you think about it. "Is he a drug addict? a lier and a panhandler? or is he really in need??"


Part of me wants to say just give them the money, if they are in need, they'll use it well, if they are drug addicts, maybe they will just die and be done with it...

Grrr...this is one of the places where people who use other people for their own ends really bugs me...If your no homeless, get off the damn streets!


Peace be upon you all

bk890901's picture



this is the role of the church
I was in the vadican this summer and was embarrassed and upset by the wealth being a member of the RC faith for 30 years United for 15
it should not makes us feel good and God calls us to give
when were you hungry Lord and we did not give tou food..........

eliu87's picture



In need or just lazy?

Well, there is no simple answer, that you can tell by just looking at the picture , and you have to discuss it to find the most probable answer(which is why WonderCafe used it :p).

In Need: That would mean he actually has something wrong with him, like a physical or mental disorder that would prevent him from making an income, or it would mean that something affected him to the point that he is unable to make an income.

Just Lazy: Simple. He doesn't want to work, and there is little or nothing hindering him.

Now here's the fuzzy point.

If a person is addicted to drugs, alchohol or other substances, is he in need or just lazy?

Some would argue that well, he made the choice to abuse substances in the first place. Why should we pay for his mistakes?

Probably some compassionate people would say that we've all made mistakes, and we should help him with substance recovery and provide him with money until he is off drugs/alchohol.

Up until this point, I have simply summarized two points of view. What do I think?

It depends on the weather.
Sounds crazy, eh?

In the summer, I would say many of the homeless are just lazy. They consist of kids who run away, people who hope to quit their job and beg for money instead, and some actual homeless.

As soon as the summer ends and we start to see rainstorms and whatnot, I'd say the majority are actually in need. The people who are just lazy have long fled to grandma's house or decided to get a job. The people left? The ones with no family, no income, no one to rely on.

Amocats's picture



Judge not lest.....

There are a lot of immigrants who are UNDERemployed. Professionals in their countries of origin, they come here and find they can't be doctors, accountants, etc. they wind up being janitors and similar! Some find themselves unemployed.
They certainly did not expect this. And they are experienced.

I am now retired BUT...back then....with 12 years of University under my belt I couldn't find a decent job using my wonderful education.... If it had not been for financial help from my Dad, I could very well have been in that picture.
There, but for the grace of .....

there are many reasons why people find themselves on the down and out and it is not always drugs, mental health issues, or whatnot.

a good question to ask someone if that someone thinks a person on welfare is being lazy is ask that someone "when was the last time you hired someone off welfare?" Hmmm. Remember, someone on welfare does not have the money to turn up at an interview LOOKING good....old clothes, poor hairdo etc.

Linnie's picture



Excellent discussions here on a question I have struggled with many times over the years, and don't know the answer.  While I believe there are definitely some con artists out there, I believe there are also many genuinely in need (and maybe the weather is the defining indicator).  A couple of things I have noted which also complicate the effort to get off the streets and off welfare are:

- the common requirement for a renter to pay 2 months rent when taking on a new place is quite prohibitive for folks who have fallen on hard times.  It is difficult enough to come up with enough money for 1 month's rent, let alone 2 months when you may have been quite some time without a job.

- If you cannot afford rent, the shortage of shelter beds means you have to line up mid-afternoon or earlier to be sure of a bed that night.  Thus, if you have been fortunate enough to find employment, you cannot be at work and lined up for a bed at the same time.  It becomes a vicious circle......if you work all day and then have to sleep outdoors, you don't rest well, have clean clothes for work, food, etc. and may lose the job.  But if you line up to get a shelter bed, then you may not have the job anyway.  What to do?

As a supposedly advanced society, we should be able to come up with some better solution. 

willowset's picture



This add struck me for it is a topic that I have firm beliefs. My personal debate that I have within myself is not are these people truly in need or just lazy, But are they people who are truly lost and can't find there way out of despair and poverty or are they people who believe that just because they are canadian they are owed by their country to be taken care of. I have had to use the resources that the city of vancouver have available to get a job. We do what we can, there are places for people to get clothes for interview, a hair cut or shower. I feel we are a province that does care about a homeless, but in many cases you can bring a thirsty man water but you can't force him to drink. Unfortunately I believe so many are unwilling to drink for them self.

achanceromance's picture



Where do people fit into society and why must they fit?  I'd argue that we are institutionalized so deeply, generation to generation that homelessness and the typical regard to why that happens in a so-called first world country, is very off base.  It's so easy to plug in, make a family, find a career, plan for retirement, adopt a religious belief, join a club, say you're sorry when you're not...


What is home?  I dream of something entirely different.

4treasons's picture



 we are all so sick. we are not at all followers of christ. we worship our wallets because we need, and need. we have an eternal lust for more, and me and my. and even worse, did god die and make you the judge. google jackie pettinger(i think that is how you spell it). her sermons and and her ministry was started with i think 300bucks. she has more than money, it's called faith. she changes heroine adicts to glorified solders for christ. we put sodom and gamorra tn a better standing with god than us. we have no love in our hearts. 

hoivansgoivan's picture



I can only comment on where I live, on Vancouver Island, but I don't think it's that hard to stay off the streets. I only work two days a week in a restaurant, making entry level wage(plus a few dollar/hour raises) and I have enough money to pay my bills. I just don't drink(much), smoke, do drugs, own a car, or have kids. How hard is it to support yourself, really?

People often say that addicts and homeless people "shouldn't suffer over one wrong decision." That's pretty naive. One wrong decision can bring you to a bad place, but it takes a series of bad decisions to keep you there. If no homeless person spent their money on alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or even coffee, and worked a couple days a week, how hard would it be to find a place to stay and get things together?

I really think the human animal is capable of such willpower. Of course there are people with mental handicaps, but I think the majority of homeless that are considered to be 'out of it', are that way because of a lifestyle of drug abuse. Someone who brings themselves to a state of mental handicap is different than someone born with an condition.  There will always be leeches in society. Time and humanitarianism will never change that truth. Read something from Ayn Rand before you criticize the apathetic.


17Youkai666's picture



Band, I TOTALLY get what you're saying!!

17Youkai666's picture



One thing I was just thinking of was this:  People make mistakes due to outside factors (ie. smikong, drinking, drugs, etc.)  Even so, what about those that were spoiled as children, and now want help that their parents are tired of giving them?  Aren't the parents slightly responsible for not teaching the children the children things like money management (budgeting and saving for a rainy day)?

eyesgluedshut's picture



This ad strikes a very loud note in me. I could write a huge long argument for why this ad makes me so angry. But rather... I will recomend 2 songs that show how I feel about this.


What If She's An Angel - Brad Paisley
What If Jesus Came Back Like That - Collin Raye

And then I will say this. Just because there are some people out there that are "lazy" or use the money we offer them for bad things like alcahol or drugs does not mean we should write them all off.
There are way too many reasons why these people, and they are people after all, have been left out in the cold by us. Job opportunities are not there for people without the proper resume, training or (and I hate to say this) appearance. They often have mental illnesses that we do  not see, does that mean they should be left out to fend for themselves? To name a few examples.

findingmyway's picture



Remember   "When I was hungry, You fed me." Who are we to judge the reasons why? All I see is a man in need. If I am in a position to share my meager earnings after my grocery shopping is done, why not? He very well may go buy booze, drugs or what not. But I tried. If you are so worried that your money is going to ill spent, Why not buy them a roast chicken?

Shallis's picture



My only answer to this is that you REALLY have to know that person's plight or story or history to pass a judgement if they are actually poor and in need, or just lazy.


Gotta know the situation first....