269

Do you Give to Panhandlers?

in Give Back

Homeless Guy on the Street

I’m going to do something today that I haven’t done in a while.

I want to ask *you* a direct question.

You see a person on the street asking for help – asking for money or food.

What do you do?

There are more than a couple sides to this debate – and to get more information I called one of my best childhood friends who works every single day with the homeless on the streets of L.A.

He gave me his answer – which was a bit different than mine. I won’t provide you either (yet) – as I want to know your uninfluenced opinions on this.

When we get to L.A. in a couple months – Josh (my friend) has offered to take us into the streets with him, so we can see a peek behind the scenes of what goes on.

Let me start you off with this:

  • Does it matter if they are male or female?
  • Does it matter young or old… healthy-looking or scraggly and weak?
  • What if they ask for food outside a restaurant or fast food chain?
  • What if they asked for a cup of coffee as you walked into Starbucks (yesterday)?
  • What if you are overseas – in a third world country – instead of your home city?
  • What if they have a kid with them – does that change the equation?

I’d really appreciate hearing your perspective – the issue has really been weighing on my own heart. I’ll report back more once I hit the streets of L.A. myself (and use the discussion below in that post).

So here it is again (comment below)…

You see a person on the street asking for help – asking for money or food.

What do you do?

*****

{ 263 comments… read them below or add one }

Bobbi February 15, 2013 at 12:27 AM

I will never ever give anything to the homeless, ever.

I live and work in Las Vegas. As a general rule, they have severe substance abuse problems and have chosen their addiction over a decent life. I will not give money for them to drink, do drugs, or smoke. I work hard and pay my own way and do the tough thing of getting up in the morning everyday and going to work. I don’t ask anyone to foot my bills.

I used to think I was kind, and would buy a burger or whatever. Until a close relative stayed with us while he was “trying” to find a job – all we heard were a pack of lies and scams, and he spent his day lounging on our couch, eating our food, stealing meds from our medicine cabinet, raiding our kids piggy bank (seriously) and facebooking with friends while we were at work everyday. After we kicked him out, we saw him picked up on TV – Las Vegas Jail – for being passed out on the Strip. No thank you.

I give to charities for children, but these people need substance treatment and it won’t matter until they want it.

Reply

Sue September 7, 2013 at 10:58 PM

WOW! “What A Wonderful Human Being Your Not!” I sure .. hope to God you have no kids. The example from your statement alone, suggests your tubes should have been tied a long time of go! “First Of All” you seem to be generalizing the entire populations of pan handlers. Lumping them all into the drug, drinking,stealing, and laziness category. Are you Republican by any chance? They did this with the entire unemployed population. They stated them to be all lazy bums who use the money to take vacations.. LOL. You sound just as ignorant! Where I come from .. the street bums who do all that are so out of it and messed up… they don’t have what it takes to sit all day, make up signs and conduct this as their job, until they get one. Second off.. do some Googling for Duane. The homeless man that asked for a beer. He is a millionaire. Are you? The Salvation Army had money stolen from someone who worked there. Heads of charities pocket money all the time. So.. don’t think for one minute your money may be going to that cause dear. Also.. I pan handle. I have been for a week. Not everyone is your relative. If you can’t even have compassion for a relative going through a hard financial time, are you human? Jobs are by far… harder to come by then they ever were! Do you watch the news? We had a recession. We pare still in one… not quite over it yet. With your expectations and demanding nature, I am shocked your still married to be honest. WOW! I don’t do drugs, drink or steal. Neither does the older man down the block whom pan handles that I know. Laziness to you… may actually be depression. Not being able to find work can cause depression. Perhaps the relative needed to visit and feel a sense of warmth and compassion to get his mind off the anxiety of not finding a job. Family hun… is suppose be there for your with you threw tough times and be on your side. Even when things are bad. Maybe he has a disability that is stress related that he needs to see someone about and perhaps can get a disability check. Clinical depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are real. They are mental illness’s and you can go out on permanent disability for them.Who are you as an adult and a sister in law no less to treat him like a child ? If I were your husband… I would run!

I never… ever expected to be in the situation of pan handling. I have only been doing this for one week. I am at present not very good at the creativity I read about how your signs should read. I am living in a campground. My state factually considers this to be a homeless situation. I have mold in the walls that I smell daily,slugs that get into the camper trailer that is a shack. I do the best .. to make the best of it. However.. I am absolutely miserable here and so are my two dogs. The neighbors are not neighborly. I try my best in all areas. Jobs because of the Obama Care Act, rather hire younger workers for a lot less hours, that is part time or less then, in order to not pay into health care next year. Minimum wage is not enough to make ends meet. No one wants to pay anyone.. unless your in the elite category of having a College degree. I took care of both parents for six years with cancer back to back. I was the full time care giver. I don’t regret it. I have talent. However.. I am putting it on hold due to financial burdens and the anxiety it creates. If employers were wiling to offer liveable wages along with 40 hours a week and raises, me and other pan handlers would not have to resort to this in order to not live under a bridge or in our car, or a forest. I met people living behind church’s and sand dunes. Yes. Community is all we have. We can’t depend on the Government on any level. Yes… I have soup kitchens and food stamps.There are food pantries as well. But.. financially … I can get nothing. I have no family left. No friends. I moved out of state. No one cares,but God.. who is allowing us poor to do this. My dogs are all I have. I consider them family. I have no boyfriend or husband or sugar daddy. I don’t want to get one to provide for me either. That can turn abusive and many times does. I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink or smoke anything. Neither does the homeless man I met on the other corner.
One man said to me he chooses whom to Tye with. IF everyone thought that way.. the world would be a better place. This is all the homeless have. If they ban this, they are in reality saying we are all worthless.. and won’t get to a better place in time and will be phasing out the population that will eventually die. Because they don’t have the means to survive. This is better for the poor then prostitution, or phone sex line, or web cam credit card sex from your bedroom, or becoming a stripper. As long as women are cautious and safe about their surroundings and where this is being done. In a public place, not on some free way or highway. People need to start reaching out with people. The bible talks on many pages about the poor. God was for the poor. If the Government on state levels want to phase them out… is that of God? No Not At All! Do continue to give. It is better to help better the lives of pan handlers that you can clearly tell aren’t on drugs, or drinking, then .. to give your money foolishly away in other places. Even when you give to charities you can’t be sure where it is going or who is lining their pockets with the money. In the state I just left, The Salvation Army had money taken from them. It was an inside job. I see charity heads driving fancy cars making huge profits off their donations. When I am back on my feet, I will be selective, but will give to pan handlers as much as I can. Instead of wasting it on things I don’t need.People should matter more then things. People should warm their hearts more and touch others lives.. and reach out to others more. Also.. .it gives a good example to your kids to show them how to be compassionate and kind. “Food For Thought!”

Reply

Ted December 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Your post was a gigantic overreaction and makes you seem unbalanced. The woman has a right to her opinion but since you disagree you trash her. Much too hostile!

Reply

Sarah March 12, 2014 at 9:04 PM

I agree with Ted that you seem unbalanced…and what a kind human being you are not either for being so hypocritical – you got after Bobbi for generalizing and lumping all the pan handlers together and then you go and lump all the Republicans together. I myself am Republican and same with my family and friends, and guess what??? We donate money to charities, clothes and goods to donation centers, do volunteer work, and yes, give change and food to homeless pan handlers! This is not because we are loaded with money either…my husband and I are both working and live in a small fourplex with our baby. So do not lump us all together! Maybe you heard a Republican leader or someone say that they thought unemployed people were lazy, but turns out, just because someone in their ignorance stated that, does not mean you should group all Republicans together as uncharitable people who think that. I am sorry for your misfortunes and wish you the best, but please don’t be hypocritical or rude to people just because of their political preference, when in reality a lot of those very people are the ones that agree with you and are trying to help the poor, such as yourself. Ever heard of the phrase, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you?”

Reply

al January 14, 2014 at 8:25 PM

It is out of control. There are always #%(#@s out there panhandling. Day and night. I work like a dog for my income, and they are hanging everywhere be it convenience stored, the strip, and everywhere in between. If I ever needed something they wouldn’t bethere for me. They have become overbearing, and this stupid town refuses to do much about it, yet they wonder why a lot of people dont want to come here anymore.

Reply

Don March 26, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Vegas is a cesspool. Places like that attract scum. Homeless or not. You too are generalizing. But that’s a different subject. I am a college educated, professional mechanic. I have been my entire adult life. I can tell you first hand that in today’s economy it is very easy to become homeless. People assume too much. They assume that you have a loving family to turn to in times of need; They assume that there are plenty of jobs if you just look hard enough ; They say things like “If I were you, I’d get a job flipping burgers for minimum wage. Well did you know that a large percentage of homeless people actually have jobs? According to a 2002 national study by the Urban Institute, about 45 percent of homeless adults had worked in the past 30 days — only 14 percentage points lower than the employment rate for the general population last month. The number of working homeless would probably be even higher if “off the books” work was included. Whether scavenging for scrap metal or staffing shelters, many homeless people adopt ingenious ways to subsist.I recently became homeless. I had everything going for me. or so it seemed. I’d moved out west to San Diego to restore old Volkswagens, leaving my friends and what little family I had behind to follow my dreams. Things were good. That is, until I came home to my apartment to find that I’d been robbed. They took everything. I’m self employed, So, when a self employed mechanic loses his tools, he’s in trouble. When a mechanic who loses his tools also doesn’t like banks, keeps his life savings in a jar that got stolen in that same robbery loses his tools, he’s f@#$ed. Rent was due soon. I had 27 dollars in my pocket. What would you do in this situation? I usually can find work fixing cars pretty easily when I have tools. Try fixing a car without them. Not gonna happen. I used my last’s month’s rent and deposit to keep a roof over my head until it ran out, I did find work shortly at a mechanics shop, So when I got evicted, I stayed in a van at my work. But my co-workers got tired of loaning me tools, and having to smell me because I lived in a van and had no way to bathe. Soon enough that was over. What now? I went to my local church to seek help. I soon found out the answer to the age old question, “What would Jesus do?” Apparently, he would send me to the next church, they would tell you to go to the one down the road, then that church would direct me back to the first one. No help there. I called my family back east asking for a loan, but they aren’t in much better situations than I, so the 20 bucks here and there that they could send would only buy me lunch meat and bread for a couple of days. Have you ever tried to live without a refrigerator? Not cool. Pun intended. So, one day after all of my resources were tapped out, I found myself hungry, alone, stinky, tired and broke. I hope that you never find yourself in such a desperate situation. Many would turn to stealing, rather than ask for hand outs. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to have to ask strangers for help? Imagine how it feels to ask for help only to be treated like an inferior, worthless moocher. Maybe, just maybe, If someone had shown some desperate person in need some kindness, instead of ignorance, condescension, and arrogance,that same person wouldn’t have ended up being the person who stole all of my stuff. So, to answer your question, Yes. I have, would, and still do give to the homeless, even though technically, I still am myself. I’m writing this from a couch that I sleep on in the shop that I currently work at. That long winded story left out many details and still took a while to read, huh? Well, that’s just my story. There are an estimated 600,000 homeless people in the United States, all with a different story. I suggest that before you assume that the dirty guy on the street is a lazy freeloader, who’s not even trying, you at least mentally put yourself in my stinky shoes. Try that on for size.

Reply

Don Dressel March 31, 2014 at 11:20 PM

I agree with you and to sue YOU ARE AN IDIOT! I have a friend who works with homeless and he tells me NEVER give them money as it all goes to drugs and alchohol! I worked since I was 15 and now I live comfortable in my 50′s because of it! I do donate to ST. JUDES every month to help kids with cancer!

Reply

Christina May 5, 2013 at 9:51 PM

I’m selective, but I do often give money to people who ask for it. I won’t give money to young healthy looking adults, especially those with a dog in tow.

I had a dear brother, who developed schizophrenia in his late teens, and would become paranoid for some reason or another about his living situation, and go live on the streets for days or weeks…not because he wanted to, but because he was relentlessly driven by anxiety and delusions. This is a devastating mental illness, that no one would wish on their worst enemy. Many, if not most of those people you see on the streets are suffering from serious mental illness. There have been some quite angry comments posted above these homeless people begging for money. This attitude really saddens me. I can tell you what my brother lived with (before he died in an accident at 37 ), was a real horror. When I see someone begging, I remind myself of my brother, and how I wish strangers would have helped him without judgement.

Reply

radzone May 5, 2013 at 11:33 PM

you’re a sweet heart – and compassionate as well.

Reply

Sean December 10, 2013 at 10:19 PM

sorry to hear about your loss

Reply

B July 22, 2013 at 7:33 PM

i think it depends on situations and agressive nature. one lady came up to me and my girlfriend who happens to use a wheel chair and is in our faces and says hey lwheelchair lady got any train money. on occasion i will buy water or food. and also for me it depends on how well the panhandler is dressed. someone panhandling in nice jeans and a white crisp tshirt is less likely to get money from me than someone with all their worldly goods on their back and seem truly in need. everyone needs help. i am not trying to descriminate for i am likely to buy the person with nice jeans and a tshrt something from the corner store and give the truley hopeless woman and her child money. thats just my opinion.

In the US there is a shortage of shelters for everyone. Many wait in line and some are turned away at the last moment due to maximum capacity. And funds are being cut even with donations. Not everyone has the mental ability to hold a job even if they have at some point. I almost always try and give coin to legit buskers who have permits and are really just trying to make a name for themselves. That is truly hard work as I have helped a friend with equipment a few times, lugging amps and such down to subway terminals, since you never know who may be listening that day.

Hopefully tides will change eventually.

Reply

B September 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I never donate money, but I have contributed food, clothing, blankets and shoes to individuals. Help out the food pantries and shelters. Shoes are a big one – if the individual’s look like they’re about to fall apart, I’d rather buy them a sturdy new pair of shoes than throw some cash at them. Many of the long term homeless suffer from mental illness, substance abuse or a combination thereof, but they are still deserving of the basic right to nutrition and health care. Many people have also gone through a period of being homeless – their finances were wiped out, they lost their job or were unable to work ,they had an inability to quickly find a new job or to find employment that will satisfactorily pay for housing and food.

In this country, our politicians and lending institutions have no qualms with evicting the poor, from foreclosing on the only place they have to live. I think there would be much more sympathy if it was understood that there are various factors that could have played a role in why an individual is homeless and that from a social welfare perspective, it doesn’t benefit our society to only look for ways to address the needs of the “deserving” or the “good” poor, while marginalizing the rest.

When I was young, I hitchhiked through the U.S. and Canada and freight hopped, so I tend to rely somewhat on my own experiences – for instance, if the person panhandling has little to no possessions with him (coats or layering of clothing, a backpack or cart), I’m a bit more cautious of them. And unfortunately some panhandlers are harassers and bully people into giving them money (go to some parts of Europe to witness this). Plenty of homeless and freight riders do have dogs for companionship, so I have no issue buying food for both the owner and his/her dog.

Reply

Leah September 23, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Speaking from a direct experience with pan handling and from speaking to others whom do this, I have a much more “Realistic” perspective. I always say.. “Never Assume You Know.” Unless.. you have done so yourself. “I Have And Do Know.” There is a misconception and stereo type as you mentioned; that the homeless suffer from mental illness or are substance abusers. I just want to clarify what the reality is. The Republicans once thought…a few years back that the unemployed take vacations with the small unemployment checks they get. Again.. a huge misconception. Unless people whom have been there or are going through it speak to the public to clear up the rumors and stero types, there will continue to be false statements. I also have had the opportunity to speak with (many) homeless people and hear their stories. I just am hoping to share with you information you were un aware of. First of all…all the pan handlers I met were on disability.Some for depression that the majority of Americans have and don’t seek help for, but for back injuries, diabetic neuropathy, IBS related diseases that effect half the population. There was only one man I met whom has a sever mental issue. One out of say..25.
Second…many are (choosing) to get Marijuana cards, as their means of pain control.Not because they have a substance abuse problem, but because they are actually intelligent enough to know and many I spoke to have researched at the library that many go to believe it or not, and they realize the side effects from Marijuana which is a natural substance out weighs the ramifications and down word spiral of “Synthetic Drugs” any day. (Fact). A nurse i spoke to is homeless and a Dental Hygenist. A commercial fisherman. All of which had in their day occupations. The Dental Hygentist experienced on the job sexual abuse. The Commercial fisherman injured his back on the job. The Nurse.. told me, working for a hospital she was sometimes asked to kill people, although not in those direct words, and she was unable to do this anymore. She found out inside information that they don’t want the public to know. I know what she means because they did this to my mother and to two other people I know in WI. I also sat in on a staff meeting at a hospital and was told that can maneuver the situation and change a doctors orders in favor for my mother. So… that being said.. (She is not nuts!). Also.. if a person has a disability. Many homeless share more then one, that does not in my eyes make them less worthy,while in the USA many share the same diagnosis, but choose not to be treated or diagnosed. A disability check is about $700.00 a month unless your a nurse or made a much higher income. It is nearly impossible to live on this. Rent has increased to the point of raping an individual of a place to live. No one cares to put any regulations on that. Many homeless actually choose not to live in subsidized low income housing because of many drug users and fights that break out. The nurse I spoke of is living under a bridge and had a stalker. I spoke to an old man.. again.. none of these people including myself drink or do drugs. Yet we are actually asked if we do as people hand us money. The older man went through a bad divorce and wiped him of every penny he had. Where I live, there are Church’s and Soup kitchens that feed us. They also have clothes there. A big room with much to wear, and shoes, coats and blankets. We also know where to find resources for this believe it or not. We are capable. People think… they know what we need and they have not a clue. Also… I have met a handful of homeless people choosing to travel the world and live this way to do so. There is a combination. The few and I say few because the number is so.. low, yet pan handlers and homeless get a bad name.. that are substance abusers, are hooked on legal medications like Oxy Cotton that doctors and pharmaceutical companies profit from. These are the facts!

Reply

John September 30, 2013 at 11:56 PM

There was a stand up comic who said:

“Some people say, ‘Don’t give to the homeless; they’re just going to spend it on drink and drugs.’ And I tell them, ‘Well what do you think I’m going to spend it on!’”

The comic also said:

“And then there’s charities. They say, ‘Don’t give your money to the homeless. Give it to us and we’ll give it to them. Yeah, we’ll make sure they get it.’”

I think you should follow your heart when it comes to generosity. Whatever the need or end use, the people that really need help really need help.

One regular around the city clearly liked to drink a bit, but you could tell he was a kind soul. I took him into a bar and bought us a few rounds and asked why he was living on the streets. Years past, he caught his wife and another man together and ended up stabbing the man (non-fatally). I imagine no one will employ someone arrested for violence, and so he’s been on the street since. Just that one blind moment of rage steered his life.

Other people around the city make up obviously fake stories that are improbable, like their sons play on the local college football team and they need money to get a bus back home (when their son is nowhere in sight).

Then there’s the adventuring types who are hitchhiking across the world. I dig that and always try to help out. $10 bucks is a lunch for two backpackers.

Recently I saw some rather young looking kids, kinda drugged out, just being lazy and asking for money. They tried to sell me pot too. I was pretty confused.

And something nice to do is to just go buy a grocery bag full of food and put it near a homeless campground (where their blankets and belongings are).

In my mind, being homeless doesn’t imply poor morals. We’ve seen many rich people with terrible, terrible morals. I’d rather divert my tax dollars to feeding the homeless than to building a federal war machine.

It’s a tough coin to flip, but like I said, follow your heart. It will tell you more about who you are as a person than about the person begging.

Reply

Caroline Mannheimer March 10, 2014 at 1:43 AM

John! I replied to your amazing comment but you’re gonna have to scroll down to read it, I’m afraid.

Reply

compassion October 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Almost every time I go to the grocery store, there is a homeless man or two standing on the corner with a sign “Homeless and Hungry” or something to that effect. I found this to be a very uncomfortable situation. I had never lived in an area where there were homeless people that actually sat by the street asking for something. For the first year, I would try my best not to make eye contact, all the while picturing the cupboards of food that I have at home, not to mention the bags of food that I had just put in my car. This year, my daughter started asking about them. ‘Why don’t we give them food, Mom?’ Well, I really don’t know why I didn’t give them food. I had always been taught not to give money because they may not know how to spend it well, but my parents have talked about giving food, or offering to take them to a restaurant to get something to eat.

We decided to start packing lunches. I wrapped my baby on me, sat my 5 year old on her bike, and walked 2 blocks with a lunch pail in hand. The first day, we handed the man food, and told him that we wanted him to know Jesus loves him. The second time, I decided to ask him name. ‘Tom’ is a man who is probably 50 years, give or take. He seems incapable of taking care of himself. I once took him soup in a cup and had to help him take the cover off because his hands were not strong enough. He has my heart. My daughter draws pictures of herself with him. She gave him one of those pictures, and the little surprised smile that he had melted my heart.

And then we met ‘Jerry’. He was a man, 45 or so, but much healthier looking and acting. But I don’t know his situation, so I will just as willingly take him food. You never know who will be standing there anyway, it could be Tom, Jerry, or someone else. But then, today, something strange happened. My daughter and I started down the street to the store, food in hand. She riding her bike, baby strapped onto me. We had to walk slightly past and backtrack in order to cross the street at a ramp for the bike’s sake. As we got close enough to see, I noticed Jerry and another kid. The guy was on a bike, and just leaving as I was watching from across the street. Across the road from Jerry was a man pushing a cart load full of grocery bags, and a train of 5 or so people behind him. Cart man runs across the street to Jerry, and Jerry hands him a bag of food that he had acquired. Jerry starts to pick up his sign to leave with the guy, I assume, and turns and spots me. Says something to Cart Man, and stays put as Cart Man takes off, pushing cart, and people in tow. I go up to Jerry and hand him the food. He thanks me, calling me sweetheart, and I ask him what that guy’s name is, nodding toward Cart Man. ‘Danny. He lets me stay with him sometimes, so I’m letting him take the food home so it doesn’t spoil.’ He thanks me again, calling my sweetheart, and says he’ll eat my food soon so it doesn’t spoil. I tell him not to worry too much, its tomato soup, so its not gonna go bad right away. I look in his eyes as I talk to him, and I can see that he feels the need to explain to me, feels guilty or something. I walk away, unsure what to think, a million things running through my mind. I’m mad. I want to help Jerry, and I want my food to go to him. I don’t like to assume, but I can only imagine that Cart Man Danny is some kind of pimp, letting these people stay on his property, and making money and food off of them. I don’t know. Does anyone else know of things like that happening? Do people actually stoop so low?

I will keep taking food. I care about Tom, Jerry, Christina, Michael.. I don’t know all of their stories. I don’t know where they sleep at night, i don’t know if they’re using my food to feed a poverty pimp, but I do know that I am blessed with plenty, and all I can do is my best to help them. If even one person receives a meal instead of going hungry, that’s what I care about. To God be the glory.

Reply

I try sometimes November 29, 2013 at 8:54 AM

It was around Christmas time, and there was a man with a sign asking for help at the end of a highway offramp in my town. I didn’t stop to offer him anything while I was in my car, but I pulled into the nearby parking lot and parked near him. I walked down the hill, told him I was going to the grocery store, and asked him if he’d like me to pick up some stuff for him. He told me he was too busy… I tried to explain the situation better, that I was willing to go to the store right over there, and bring him back food. I don’t remember if I got another response. People say you shouldn’t make people suffer for the sins of others, but that definitely set back my willingness to help. Too busy? Not that desperate then. And I was watching, nobody was stopping to help him.

Reply

Victor George December 20, 2013 at 11:33 PM

In this country it is a shame that we allow people the freedom to hurt themselves and freeze or overdose or die on the streets. There are not enough services or shelters and many on the street do not want help; they just want the $ to spend as they see fit.

Get to know them, get to know their stories. Most do not need food or money for food. In my neighborhood, a woman, Sue denied my offers for food. She needed rent $. I met her landlord, gave him $20.00 and she was so greatful. Learn their stories and help them or please donate to the service agencies that provide in their neighborhood. VG

Reply

Charissa December 22, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I have on occasion given a couple of dollars, but I’ve really kinda stopped lately because of all the debate about whether or not these people are legitimately in need or if they just do this and go home with a bunch of money. I want to help people who really need it but I don’t want to contribute to some lazy asshole’s scam. All of this has made me really conflicted about giving money to people. I will say that I would not give money to someone who seems clean and dressed in nice clothes. It just seems like they don’t need it. People who are obviously worn and dirty looking or even just not well-dressed are more believable to me.
Now you asked if they have a kid with them, does that change the equation. Well, I can only comment on the one time that I say a kid with someone holding a sign on the side of the road. He was a young guy and was carrying a little boy on his shoulders while holding his sign proclaiming that he was a single father and trying to make ends meet. I watched them for a few mins while I was stuck at the light and my honest impression was that the kid was being coached to look sad. They guy wasn’t focused on the kid at all and really just seemed to be using him as a prop. That made me feel really upset and I would not have given anything to that guy.
I guess I kind of just go with my observations and my intuition about people before giving them anything. I just don’t want to be giving to a scam instead of helping people who really need it.

Reply

David January 23, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Panhandling is a blight on the world. I do not give to panhandlers, homeless, street people, what ever you wish to call them. I have been all around the world and seen it in so many of its forms. I does bother me when I see it but I always turn away. There are so many variations on the whys and wherefores it really doesn’t matter. Most people that really need help utilize the many channels that are open to the less fortunate, churches, shelters, social workers, VA, Police, etc, because they don’t want to be homeless or panhandle. Those that you see on the street panhandling truely have something wrong with them, even if it is just the fact that they have no moral affinity to it. if you want to challenge them there is always a horrible story, but in many cases if the story were true either one or many of the channels mentioned could help or it is an outright fabrication. If everyone who could afford to put a dollar in a bucket it wouldn’t reduce the panhandling one bit, it might actually make it worse. We already give a ton of money in taxes each, much of which is put into numerous social programs to help needy people. Of course some of these needy just need another social program, but others use them to get a leg up and stop being needy. The next time you see that teenage panhandler in front of Best Buy walk on by and ignore his snide comment because you didn’t give him some money. If he really is starving maybe that will push him to go get help from one of the many available options.

Reply

Margie January 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Jesus didn’t say to judge them he said to help them. I feel sorry for the ones who don’t have compassion for others because in the end they will have the worse ending.words of In the words of Jesus:
Matt 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink; 43 I was a stranger but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison but you would not take care of me.’ 44 Then they will answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?’ 45 The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.’ 46 These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life.”

Reply

vicki fraser February 26, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Yes I do give I have a big heart and feel sorry for them. One day sitting out on a patio down town saw a guy bumming money I called him over and gave him 5.00 he came back to see me few minutes later and showed me what he bought 2 slices of pizza and pop and thanked me. Thought that was really nice and made me feel good. Another one I saw was at Walmart saw this poor guy seeking for a cigarette butt.was so hot out that day I cried I was so upset to see this poor guy no water or anything so drove up to him and gave him 20.00 if I didn;t have to go back to work probably would of takne him into Walmart to buy him some clothes. I get sent sentimental at times. So use your descretion and those in need!!!!

Reply

Jessica March 1, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Not anymore! Three days ago outside a burrito place someone asks for money for food because they’re hungry, I offer to buy them a burrito. They say “it’s too greasy, can I just have the money for McDonalds instead.” Whatever, I gave them $4 then saw them walk into the tobacco store.

Then today going into Starbucks someone asks for money, I say I don’t have cash but I’ll get you Starbucks. I got his order, coffee & 2 cakes, give it to him, and then he AGAIN asks for money. I’ve not encountered any gratefulness, so I’m done giving out anything to strangers! (I say that but unfortunately I think the Christian teaching of “clothing the naked/feeding the hungry=the same as feeding Jesus himself” in Matthew 25:31-46 is too engrained in me and I’ll give out money/food again.)

Reply

Albert Decker March 4, 2014 at 10:15 PM

I’m in Garland, a suburb of Dallas.I just went to Kroger, and right beside the front door (bold move, I’m thinking, must be desperate) stood a youngish Indian woman with a cardboard sign saying “Please help. I have 2 kids,” something like that. Her clothes looked old, not dirty, but old. I thought, “If she’s still there when I come out…” Well she was there, and then I noticed her husband as well (I deduced by his demeanor and voice). In my heart there was no question. I walked over, pulled out a $10 and handed it to her. They both expressed extreme gratitude and humility (I heard it in their voices) and gave me the “God Bless” that ALL the panhandlers in this area hand back, every time.
If I’ve any to spare at all, I won’t pass any of them up.

Reply

jordan March 5, 2014 at 3:08 PM

i don’t work for my money. i work for free. i get money for free too.

but i’ll never give money to the “homeless” or panhandlers because…
i don’t think it helps in a meaningful way.

Reply

Caroline Mannheimer March 10, 2014 at 1:42 AM

John, I think I love you. I am a writer and actor for a troupe based on the Theater of the Oppressed model. Our main focus is educating about homelessness and, as you can well imagine, panhandling is always linked in our conversations. We take real stories from the streets and dramatize them and then have a talk-back with the audience. I’ve worked with this troupe for 5 years, doing 100s of shows and at every show am asked “should I give to panhandlers?” My answer is the same as yours: follow your heart. I’m always kind of amazed at all these restrictions people want to put on their “generosity”. I’ve an ongoing argument with the local charities here about them telling people not to give–but wonder if they’d be willing to eat the expired swill dished out at those soup kitchens–so I’d love to know who the comic is who said that bit about “sure we’ll get the money to them…” Anyway, you’re awesome and after reading some rather ignorant comments yours has restored my faith in humanity. Thanks.

Reply

Me April 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

Edit (misspelled a couple words): I sometimes donate to panhandlers, but I’ve done so less often of late. There are places for homeless people to stay and they can get food stamps if they have no income. If you have food and shelter (and can therefore actively look for a job) you aren’t so in need that you should be begging on the street. Unless you need something other than food or shelter… like alcohol and drugs.

You might say I’m being negative and mistrustful but this is based on knowledge. I’ve heard numerous accounts of people who give to panhandlers just to find them in a bar that evening or who give out free meal tickets just to find the panhandler selling the meal ticket for (beer) money later on. I give to charity organizations that can help those in need, but I don’t give to panhandlers who just want to get their next fix.

Reply

dworme April 16, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I try & give what I can. I know how it is to be broke. It takes alot to ask for help. & besides you never know who ur helping or u may find yourself in need of help one day. Small acts of kindness such as this is what’s missing in the world. Apathy is rampant. We all need to make this world a better place.

Reply

matt May 24, 2014 at 11:48 PM

I don’t Pay for other people’s bills. That being said, I am not homeless nor am I broke. If I never needed to leave the house again, the homeless Problem would be none of my concern ether way. Give everything you have, Then all you have done is give less then a penny to all. As for the homeless, I give them money because this is how I solve problems and survive. Because time is money, its much more expensive to let stupid people places and things divert me from getting back to work on the most important Freedom in America, Owning a Business, The finest legacy Capitalism, Total Freedom.

Reply

Chasen Brown-Hawkins May 29, 2014 at 7:50 PM

I would give someone food. I would prefer not to give money but I have given a few dollars to someone for gas (at the pump) and bus fare a few times (boarding the bus). It is true; many of Americas homeless have problems with addiction. This is why I would give food, but would hold back the cold hard cash. That way I am not paying for someone’s street drugs, and; I do have limited funds myself and I don’t always have it to just hand out. Though the person I would give food to, a homeless person, may also be an addict; does that make them unworthy of a meal? And, is addiction always a choice, or could it be an mental illness? Would I give food to a woman who suffers from depression but withhold food from a man addicted to narcotics? I only see people who are hungry who are asking for help. Compassion would compel me to help, or at least try; without judging them or the situation. It’s food. Everyone needs to eat. Just try going without food for 48 hours. Then decide if you think someone would choose to go without food so they could have one more dime bag instead. Or is there really a choice in all this.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 6 trackbacks }