Chuck, good post, I enjoyed it. I like this practice and I admire your take on the fact that taking responsibility for the less fortunate necessarily comes with the privilege of the free market. That’s a point I would like to hear more from the “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper sticker toting libertarians. Quite frankly, I don’t hear that from them. It’s as if “the hand of the free market” will offer the less fortunate a job and they will take care of themselves.
A thought on preserving the beggar’s dignity. I don’t think that it necessarily follows that because they refuse you buying them food instead of being given money that they want money for “other things”, such as drugs. It is quite a humbling experience for a beggar, especially someone fresh on the streets, to stand next to someone buying their food for them in a restaurant with others looking at them. I’m sure it is easier for some beggars to merely refuse your offer and wait for cash.