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June 23, 2011


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I totally understand the desire to hand these people money.... I live in Portland, Oregon and we have a HUGE homeless community. There are panhandlers at every freeway entrance, on most corners in downtown Portland. The problem is, and this is why I no longer give them money----most will turn around and buy drugs or booze with the donations. A gentleman that we know that had a drug problem said "never,ever,ever give 'em money. Give them a sandwich, an apple, coupons to McDonalds-NEVER money". I've actually had friends that have handed a sandwich to one of these panhandlers and been told to "F off". I read in the Sunday Parade magazine several years ago that there are actually courses taught to everyday people on how to make money panhandling..yikes.
Such a sticky wicket, really. I used to feel good about handing a couple of quarters to these strangers, but I just can't anymore...

I hope too that he is really going to grab something to eat, I remember giving some loose change, thinking he'll get something to eat, as I walk by he and his friends gather their loose changes and bought a rum.

Great post-thanks for your kindness. It is interesting that research suggests that 80% of homeless people (particularly, veterans), may have undiagnosed head injuries. If that's true, then I thank you even more. :-)

That is such an awesome story and similar to an encounter I had myself. I hate to see people in such a state but hope whenever I do pass by I have the means to help. -Carol

I live rural here in Australia, so it's not a sight I see. But when I've been down in the city an hour away or down in Sydney you see afew people asking for money.

In all honesty being in the city is freaky enough without a stranger coming up asking for money. BUT I see it as, I wonder how down they are to have to resort to 'this'?

Good on you for helping him out with 4 bucks. I reckon he would have had a good feed with it :)

I'm in a mid-sized town in TN. I tend to be able to tell who really needs help, as can my husband.
We recently passed a very nice man. My husband said "He's a vet, how much cash do you have?"
The surprised look on that man's face after he struggled to his feet was heartbreaking, but his words of gratitude were worth more than the $20 we gave him.

It's different every time, the circumstances that deliver people to a corner or the amount of money you have to give, or time to spend contemplating.

I'm glad you shared this story, like a post Tanis once wrote about how to see all children, this post will shift the light in which I see hands extended for help.

I guess living in Chicago you grow to ignore a lot of the panhandlers on street corners. As horrible as that sounds, it is hard to tell which ones really need it or which ones are just abusing the system. When I first moved to 'the big city' I would always give my change to this one guy near the train station, untill one day I saw that same guy walk a couple blocks down, get into his bran new car, pull out a fancy cell phone and drive away. Needless to say I stopped giving him my change, but about a month or so later I got up the nerve to ask him about it. I dont remember the entire conversation but I do remember him saying he made close to $28,000 a year panhandling. I was shocked! I worked my butt off the make a little over 25,000 a year, and this guy just stood there with a cup everyday during rushhour. After this insidence and a couple other shadey encounters I decided to change my tactics. Now whenever I walk to lunch, if I see someone with a sign saying they need money for food, I simply order a foot long sub, instead of my normal 6 inch and have them wrap the 2 sides seperately so that on my way back to work I hand them the sub. Some of them are greatful, and that makes me feel like I helped out. But others you can tell would rather just get money. (granted those people I sometimes want to point out that thier sign actually says "please help, need food") Either way, this way I can help people without feeling cheated. I know not everyone is like this, I have seen plenty of people who really do need help. But personally I try to just actually give them things. Sometimes Food, sometimes an old sweatshirt I had in my bag. It just depends on the situation. I'm not saying you should stop giving money to people who need it, just be aware of some of the scams you can encounter in bigger cities.

You are so sweet! I'm sure it made his day much more bearable.

Good gesture. It never hurts to share when you have been blessed with extra.

I absolutely agree. There's no way to know for sure if they need the money for food or not, but it doesn't hurt to give a little, just in case.

Can I just say thank you? From my family to you. Thank you.

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