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Do you give money to panhandlers? Options · View
DamonX
Posted: Friday, August 06, 2010 9:41:07 PM

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When I moved back to the west coast over a year ago, I once again came in contact with the prolific "begging" epidemic that seems to be so popular 'round these parts.

The first time I went to the local gorcery store, I saw a man sitting outside with a little cardboard sign that said: "In danger of being evicted. Please help!"

For someone that seemed so in danger of having his life ruined, he seemed surprisingly complacent and failed to even raise a brow when passer-bys would toss a few coins into his little plastic bucket. I might have given him any spare change I had, if not for the fact that I don't carry change. (This whole debit card thing must be murder on the panhandlers...)

A year later, and the same guy is still sitting there every time I go to the grocery store, with the same sign, sitting, reading a book as he waits for people to toss coins into his little plastic bucket. I can't help but feel a bit suspicious that he may never have been in danger of being evicted, and his pompous attitude has actually evoked a fair bit of animosity from me every time I go and buy a jug of milk.

It seems like around here, panhandling is a lifestyle for some people rather than a necessity.

Do you give money to panhandlers? Why or why not?
Rembacher
Posted: Friday, August 06, 2010 10:26:07 PM

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When I used to work as a pool boy, one of my co-workers would give part of his lunch to panhandlers. I've kind of adopted that. If I have some food or perhaps a gift certificate for a restaurant, I'd give that. And yes, if I have change on me, I do give that. I figure it's good karma.
Guest
Posted: Friday, August 06, 2010 10:50:53 PM

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To get to work, I have to walk a couple of blocks from the underground subway system and I pass quite a few panhandlers, claiming to be homeless. I do give them a couple of dollars if I have the cash, just because I feel like I've been blessed with what I have. I know some actually use it for food and others use it for who knows what but that way, I make sure the ones who actually do need it, get it. People tell me I'm crazy, but I've never known what it felt like to not have a bed to sleep in like some of those people I pass on my way to work do.
sprite
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 2:09:24 AM

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when i have spare cash, i share as much as i can - it does get frustrating when there's a constant barrage of people asking for money - i used to smile and apologize, explaining that i didn't have anything to give at present, but lately, i've sort of started ignoring the requests... it wears me out a bit to explain each and every time - i don't like this new attitude in me, but really, it seems like everywhere i go someone is there with a hand out, and some of them can be a bit aggressive.

Live, love, laugh.
Guest
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 3:07:09 AM

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my dad would tell my growing up, " hey look kid he has real business going there", but these people are not living luxuriously , these people aren't happy. So I give them the money anyways
Guest
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 5:22:55 AM

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I can honestly say I have been on both sides of the fence with this issue. As a person who has the means to give when they can, I find it cool that I can give spare change when I have it. Although after my last experience with a "so-called panhandler", I have resigned to giving food or I will give them money to get food. The lady was sitting at a bus stop, looking very worn down and she stopped me and my ex. Telling us this story of how she needed to get to NY from Florida to see her daughter, she said she had most of the money but needed extra money. I was apprehensive at giving her money because I did not really trust her story too much, but my ex-bf said to give it to her. So I gave her 20 bucks. As we were leaving, she claimed she was hungry and needed more money. We offered to take her to BK to get something to eat and that is when she had said she was diabetic and could not eat BK. I knew that to be a lie since my mother has diabetes and she may not eat BK but she eats fast food sometimes. I was not going to give her the money, but again my ex-bf told me to be kind and give. We gave her an extra 20 bucks. She said she was going to BK or somewhere to eat and we never saw her again......that is when 2 weeks later we had wind up homeless on the streets ourselves.

I was really really pissed that as my ex and I were walking down the street, she was walking towards us....guess you can say she never made it to NY. That was when I realize that I cannot give money to people anymore. I will give food and spare change to make a call. When I was in the predicament I was in, I had met some caring people who were kind to homeless people and some not. I never once asked for money because that's not what I wanted, I wanted food. I can remember this one experience where there was this group of people sitting at this table with their food in their doggy bags. I asked them if I could have the leftovers, they gave me money instead. i am sure they were watching me as I went to go to the nearest pizza store to get some food and if they did, they knew I was someone in need.

When I look back on my experience as a homeless person, I am grateful for it. I was able to see humanity for what it really is. Some of the homeless people I met down in FL were drifters and users and I stayed away from them as much as I could. I even went to a place where I could get help to get off the streets. Because I was not from FL, it was gonna be much harder for me to do so since I lost my ID and all from it being stolen. I even asked the lady at the social service, why there were too many people out on the street and they know that these people need help? She replied: Sometimes when homeless people have been on the streets too long, eventually they give up and don't ask for help. I knew then I did not want to be like the old lady I saw laying under a blue tarp on a grassy sidewalk near a busy road!
Guest
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 5:45:53 AM

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'Panhandler' is a new word to me and I'm sure most people here in England have never heard of it. Perhaps - judging from other replies - it means street beggars { which is what it is}.

Over here those street beggars were in abundance a few years ago ... couldn't move for someone asking if I had any spare change. Invariably, monies collected by these guys and girls was to feed their drug or drink addiction. I never gave them a penny and fortunately ... here in UK these people have been swept off the streets - certainly where I live and shop.
Guest
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 6:34:21 AM

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I never give them money! Here in the GTA there has been a large handful of con artist that actually park their cars and dress down like a panhandler and beg on the streets! And of course there are always the drug and alchol abusers, it hard to tell if any actually use your spare change towards food or clothes. My thing is keep a case of bottled water in the car during the hot summer and a bag of nice warm socks for the winter.
flower MissJess
Guest
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 8:23:40 AM

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my husband used to manage a pizza hut a way long time ago and there was a small group of homeless that would beg in the parking lot. my husband offered each of them to work for pizza. wash dishes, take out trash..whatever. every single one turned him down. it wasnt food they were after. my general rule is No Way in Hell am i gonna give them money.

but.

couple weeks ago a woman approached in the grocery lot begging with a little boy in tow..maybe 8 or 9 and she was drunk. broke my heart that he was being subjected to this so i have her my last 3 bucks. pissed me off.
LadyX
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 8:42:01 AM

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I didn't usually have money or food to spare the homeless and the panhandlers when I was growing up, but if I had spare change I would sometimes give it to them. Now that I sometimes have a little extra, I'll give them a few dollars here and there, depending on the situation. I have gotten to know a few that hang around near where I live, and I help out when I can, but I don't go overboard. I agree that Karma's a bitch, and I want to stay on her good side.

I give, knowing that it's probably not used for healthy things a lot of the time, but I just can't do the moral high horse thing by not giving at all. Nobody's going to 'smarten up' or learn valuable life lessons by going hungry under a freeway bridge. The ones that pull themselves off the streets could use a little help in doing so- you never know who they are.
MrNudiePants
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 9:16:52 AM

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Down here you get both kinds - in fact a local newspaper ran a story about how they secretly followed one "homeless" beggar from his post by the street, to the gas station where he changed into his street clothes, then to the parking lot where he had ditched his BMW, and on home to his relatively expensive house and family.

For the actual homeless, illiterate, mentally challenged, or addicted, who need the change for alcohol or drugs, I always think back to a sign I saw in a community flea market in Anchorage, Alaska. It had a photo of a homeless guy holding a sign, and the sign went something like this: "Every dollar you give me only helps me stay on the street where I subject myself to drugs, disease, filth, and abuse by the police. Instead of giving me that dollar, you should be giving to an organization that will help me get off the streets and clean up, give me a clean bed to sleep in, medical care, and counseling."
noone
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 10:02:49 AM

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Never money. Lived in Chicago long enough to spot BS. I have given them food and even had them join me for a meal but never money. I am the same way with charities. I donate $1000,s each hear in clothing and other goods but won't give money.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 10:12:36 AM

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Living in the city, I get panhandling requests every single day walking around, or now the popular thing is for them to be working traffic lights, and going from car to car begging before the light turns green. The same guys work the same corners. It's easy to pull at my heart strings and I have definitely given my fair share over the years when I can, or when someone seems genuinely in need (although it's hard to really determine who is really in need anymore). There is one famously well-worked traffic light as people are leaving the highway to enter the city, and it's been the same guy working it for years. He has his pant-leg pulled up to reveal a purple'ish looking leg, and he walks with an exaggerated limp as he goes from car to car, wincing in pain. As soon as the light turns green though, he walks right back to the sidewalk... very able-bodied with no problem, sometimes even with a little jog. That kind of con tends to make me angry.

There are definitely people that are genuinely in need, and I have bought an extra lunch, a cup of coffee, or just given a few dollars when the mood strikes. One panhandler works the entrance to the liquor store, and on one cold wintery day near Christmas, I just added an extra bottle of liquor to my cart and gave it to him on the way out with a "Merry Christmas"... he was extremely thrilled... lol

There have been a few studies on how much panhandlers make, and while it seems to vary tremendously, there is one journalist who lived on the streets as a panhandler as an experiment to see how much he could make on average in Toronto. His average was $200/day. Not bad!

When I am in the spirit to be generous, I find I do tend to make visual assessments a lot of the time when deciding who to give money to. I tend to give to elderly homeless more often than an able-bodied younger person. Someone quietly standing there with a cup will more often receive goodwill from me than the louder, aggressive panhandler too. Not sure of the dynamics of why we choose to give to one over another, but that in itself would probably be an interesting social experiment.

WellMadeMale
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 10:17:22 AM

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Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I try to determine what will be done with the few bills I might give someone. In the end, it's none of my business what he does with it.

If he's staggering drunk and smells like a distillery, chances are high the money is for more booze. Hey, maybe he'll do some pushups or street break dancing or a pantomime skit for $10?

If he sees me smoking and asks for a cigarette, I might take a couple out of the pack & slip 'em in my shirt pocket and give him the other 10 to 15 cigs in the pack. I might even give him my lighter. Sucks to have a cig and no way to light it.

I will only donate some money to a single guy on the street, and try to do so discreetly. I don't want other streeters seeing me giving someone money. That makes the recipient a target to predators. I also try not to hand out anything where anyone I know can see this occurring. Sometimes that cannot be helped so that's not a fast rule of mine.

LadyX mentioned Karma. Eh, I chalk it down to compassion. It is a small thing which can make me feel like a human.

Heh, I have given dudes some money before and then had to face their indignant wrath as they dressed me down - right on the spot for being a cheapskate.

Like many things in life, it's a roll of the dice.

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Guest
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 11:06:38 AM

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I give to Covenant House here in Vancouver for the Homeless Youth. I know that the money is spent on keeping those kids off the streets and hopefully not dependent on drugs - and figuring out how to get out of the situation that life has put them in.

http://www.covenanthousebc.org/

So the answer is no - panhandlers can fck off and get assistance or a job.

Van


WellMadeMale
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 11:22:04 AM

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VanGogh wrote:


So the answer is no - panhandlers can fck off and get assistance or a job.

Van
[/color]



Some of those guys have hidden talents, Van. You ever watched a 52 year old man, break dance on hot asphalt?

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Magical_felix
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 3:38:08 PM

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I rarely do. If they look really old or very disabled I might give them a couple of quarters. Sometimes if they look like a junkie I know they are caught up in a very dark world and I'll give them a couple of bucks so they can go get high and passout somewhere. They're going to die soon anyway, poor bastards.





DamonX
Posted: Saturday, August 07, 2010 9:19:13 PM

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WellMadeMale wrote:
VanGogh wrote:


So the answer is no - panhandlers can fck off and get assistance or a job.

Van
[/color]



Some of those guys have hidden talents, Van. You ever watched a 52 year old man, break dance on hot asphalt?


Haha, yeah there are those types around here as well. Espcially around the clubs at closing time. There is a guy that will do 100 one arm pushups for 1 dollar. There is a another guy that will spontaneously create a rap song for any word that you give him. I have no problem tossing any extra change to a person that is willing to work for it.

I used to have a fair amount of generosity towards panhandlers...I would always give them money (usually when I was drunk)...but I came to realize that they would never return the favour if the situation was reversed. My roommate actually used to revel in conversing with these people and share cigarettes and money with them. As I sat back and watched, I came to realize that these people are real players and will try and squeeze out every dime they can. The nicer you are, they more reaching they become. If you say 'hi" they will ask for a dollar. After a five minute conversation and a cigarette, they ask for 20 dollars. What really opened my mind was when one of the unfortunates that my roommate had bestowed his generosity upon, tried to rifle through his pockets after my friend had been cracked upside the head with a baseball bat. (And this was literally ten minutes after my friend had given the guy a cigarette and a few dollars.) It seems hard to play the good samaritan when its obvious the recipient of your good fortune would just as soon take everything you have without a thought.

Those were drug addicted heroin addicts though...

There also exists a subclass of panhandlers that do it purely as a lifestyle choice. My own cousin is one of these. She goes and begs on the street in tourist areas, makes a decent amount of coin, and then spends the nights smoking pot and playing bongo drums. I find it ironic that people see her and give her money because they feel sorry for her, but then she comes home and gets pissy at christmas time because my grandma bought her the "wrong" $400 camera. These types often take on a bit of a "taunting" aspect as well. Making rude comments to passer-bys and snickering as they sit there on the sidewalk. They make fun of people that "exist within the norms of society", but yet beg for money from the very people that they claim to disparage.

And this brings me back to the fat little toad of a man that still sits there, reading his books ouside my local grocery store, callously claiming that he is in some way in danger of being evicted. He has obviously chosen his current situation as a career choice, since in the countless months he has spent sitting there, he could have easily found some means of employment, (in addition to the social assistance, that he is obviously recieving as well).

I still give money to panhandlers...but not out of the goodness of my heart. I do it mainly because I hate the feeling of loose change in my pockets and treat it almost like garbage. But I'd rather throw it in the trash than give it the the guy outside my grocery store. Money is better spent contributing to the social programs that actually help prevent these situations. Well...real situations of need, that is. The situation of people like my grocery store lingerer should be dealt with by a swift kick in the ass.
Guest
Posted: Sunday, August 08, 2010 7:44:24 PM

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I rarely give money to those people because most likely they will either by drugs or alcohol. I will give food though if i have it
LadySharon
Posted: Monday, August 09, 2010 11:42:17 AM

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noone wrote:
Never money. Lived in Chicago long enough to spot BS. I have given them food and even had them join me for a meal but never money. I am the same way with charities. I donate $1000,s each hear in clothing and other goods but won't give money.


Same here.

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mercianknight
Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 9:58:27 AM

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LadySharon wrote:
noone wrote:
Never money. Lived in Chicago long enough to spot BS. I have given them food and even had them join me for a meal but never money. I am the same way with charities. I donate $1000,s each hear in clothing and other goods but won't give money.


Same here.


Me too!

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SilverArdorDragon
Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 10:20:02 AM

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Where I grew up I saw panhandlers all the time, I felt sorry for them when I was a kid but I had no money myself so I couldn't do anything. Then I spent a couple years on the street thanks to my mom's ex-husband, and I learned that 95% of the panhandlers (at least where I grew up) were just to lazy to go get a job and earn thier own money. Only once have I seen a panhandler (after my own time homeless) that i ever wanted to give money to. His sign said: "Why lie? I want beer." When I saw his sign I liked that he was honest about what he wanted, but at the time I barely had enough money to feed my self so I didn't give him anything.

Where I live now, in Montana I see all different things on the signs, even one who claimed he needed the money for his "woman" to have so surgery or other.

When I have the money I will go into a store or fast food place and get them food, but after what I saw when I was on the streets I will not give them money.
rxtales
Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 7:26:43 PM

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This is a difficult question and I have debated back and forth (in my head) about this.

When I was living in Florida last year, I was living in an area with several military bases. There were many homeless people who after the vietnam war were unable to hold down a job and many turned to alcohol and drugs and were living on the street. I befriended one man who I would sit with often. He never asked me for money as I was broke and pregnant, but I would see him panhandling for money on occasion. I would bring him food, but never give him money. I didn't want it to go to alcohol.

I worked at a homeless shelter in the UK for a bit. Or a shelter for Rough Sleepers as they are called. In the UK there is no reason someone should be living on the street. There are always options for food and a shelter. So I would be wary of where the money is going.

I have spent a lot of time in the developing world, where I see many many beggars. In some areas people will purposely maim and disable people so they can get more money on the streets. They are left on a corner to beg then get picked up in the evening and little of the money goes to them.

I also see a lot of children begging. I definitely never give them money, because it does more harm then good. They should be in school but know they can earn more money by standing out on the street and tourists will feel sad for them. In the long run it would do them good to get an education.

So generally I won't give people money. I will buy them food, or in a special case a place to stay. From experience though I have found that the money goes towards something like alcohol/drugs or makes it into the wrong hands.
fredatpell
Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 7:36:41 PM

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we had 1 here in town last week . he was kind of pushing people about money, come to find out , he was a sex offender in hiding,
he got hungry. now it is 3 aday and a cot. be careful of who you you dont know
Guest
Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2010 2:17:35 AM

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this brought up another memory I had during my time in Florida as a homeless person....I happened to see a man who looked dirty but he was young and able-bodied sitting near the BK restaurant with a sign that said...Deaf, evicted from apt... need help! I was truly pissed off. I am a hard of hearing person who also homeless but I was getting my financial assistance from the state due to my disability. Because of where I was homeless at, (Miami Beach) for some reason or another my stuff was always getting stolen (clothes, books, food, etc) even though I was hiding them in the bushes, I had to keep buying new clothes, food, books, etc. I can only deduce that other homeless people, rather con people were watching me as I was wandering about in the area. Miami Beach is a very expensive place and is NOT where one should be homeless.....nobody should be homeless anywhere. Anyhow....I was trying to get off the street and my money was being drained because of that. Here I am trying to use my money to try to save for a decent apt and this "deaf man was claiming he could not get assistance"??? I knew he was lying right off the bat....I shook my head and walked right past him. I should have backtracked and "signed" to him to see if he was really deaf, which was probably not the case.
pb69
Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2010 10:55:29 PM

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I almost never give money (I've seen more beggars than I can count and can only think of 4 times that I've given cash). I will, however, buy them dinner if I'm out having food. I've also been known to walk down the street to a grocery store with them and buy them about a week's worth of food of their choosing. These incidents probably happen once a year or so and I'm quite cautious which beggar I'll do this for (they really have to seem to need to eat).

My wife is always a little nervous when we do this and afterwards she is proud and elated.

I won't contribute to the delinquency of another, but I'll gladly share what I have in the form of food. Everyone deserves to eat.
DamonX
Posted: Saturday, August 21, 2010 10:52:30 PM

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When I went to the store today....the panhandler was talking on his cell phone....Boo hoo!
Guest
Posted: Saturday, August 21, 2010 11:56:25 PM

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DamonX wrote:
When I went to the store today....the panhandler was talking on his cell phone....Boo hoo!


wow ...

yah, seeing that / hearing about that - re-affirms my none-sharing attitude.

Van

SweetPenny
Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2010 8:19:35 AM

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DamonX wrote:
When I went to the store today....the panhandler was talking on his cell phone....Boo hoo!


In New York City, all the homeless guys have cell phones.
Guest
Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2010 8:26:13 AM

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SweetPenny wrote:
DamonX wrote:
When I went to the store today....the panhandler was talking on his cell phone....Boo hoo!


In New York City, all the homeless guys have cell phones.


thinking about this last evening .... doesn't one need to have a residence/PO Box for the bill to go to? ... unless, it is a pay as you go ....

still ~ my reaction seems to still be wow ....
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