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BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?

GUEST 18 Jul 04 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 18 Jul 04 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 18 Jul 04 - 06:30 PM
Mr Red 18 Jul 04 - 06:34 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jul 04 - 07:49 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jul 04 - 07:57 PM
jacqui.c 18 Jul 04 - 08:02 PM
Rabbi-Sol 18 Jul 04 - 08:06 PM
Don Firth 18 Jul 04 - 08:40 PM
Once Famous 18 Jul 04 - 08:44 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jul 04 - 09:37 PM
Rapparee 18 Jul 04 - 09:49 PM
Blackcatter 18 Jul 04 - 09:58 PM
Little Brother 18 Jul 04 - 10:07 PM
Marion 18 Jul 04 - 10:44 PM
Rapparee 18 Jul 04 - 11:12 PM
Amergin 18 Jul 04 - 11:27 PM
Marion 18 Jul 04 - 11:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Jul 04 - 04:21 AM
Liz the Squeak 19 Jul 04 - 05:26 AM
mooman 19 Jul 04 - 06:57 AM
GUEST 19 Jul 04 - 07:03 AM
InOBU 19 Jul 04 - 10:30 AM
Alex.S 19 Jul 04 - 11:02 AM
Bagpuss 19 Jul 04 - 11:04 AM
Rapparee 19 Jul 04 - 11:12 AM
Alex.S 19 Jul 04 - 11:29 AM
InOBU 19 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jul 04 - 12:00 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jul 04 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 19 Jul 04 - 01:05 PM
Wesley S 19 Jul 04 - 01:11 PM
Don Firth 19 Jul 04 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Larry K 19 Jul 04 - 02:42 PM
Rapparee 19 Jul 04 - 03:48 PM
Liz the Squeak 19 Jul 04 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Mudcatter 19 Jul 04 - 08:30 PM
Phil Cooper 19 Jul 04 - 11:27 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Jul 04 - 10:32 AM
Stilly River Sage 20 Jul 04 - 02:36 PM
DougR 20 Jul 04 - 04:24 PM
Wesley S 20 Jul 04 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 20 Jul 04 - 06:17 PM
Don Firth 20 Jul 04 - 07:50 PM
Bill D 20 Jul 04 - 09:55 PM
gnu 21 Jul 11 - 01:41 PM
Becca72 21 Jul 11 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Eliza 21 Jul 11 - 02:52 PM
gnu 21 Jul 11 - 02:59 PM
Ebbie 21 Jul 11 - 03:27 PM

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Subject: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 02:48 PM

I was suprised by a beggar this morning. I'd just lifted my child out of the car near a busy street when he asked me for spare change. In other situations I might have slipped him a dollar or two but this time I didn't.

Do you give money every time you're asked or do you have "rules" as to when you will or won't give to a panhandler ? Do you ever concern yourself as to what the money will be used for ?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 03:45 PM

If you give to those who ask, you've done the right thing. If they spend it stupidly, that's their problem; it's between them and their conscience or their god, but you have behaved correctly.

I will admit I once turned down a young man who was better and more fashionably dressed than i was.

clint


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 06:30 PM

Clint - cut out the middle man and send the money straight to a Columbian drug baron.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 06:34 PM

I always remember a lad in a seriously uncrumpled clean mac button-hole me and Mutton Chops (lapsed 'catter) with tales of sleeping rough. I watched as Mutton Chops dug into his pocket and dumped all the coins he had in the guy's hand. He's like that. I dug into my recesses and found a song out of it. About cardboard city. I give that to the guy - freely. He looked to have more work than I did at the time.

if curious, the song is on surf to "songs" > Ron Haywards Blues

No I never give to beggars, they can earn as much as me on a good pitch and they don't pay taxes (and may get dole). OK I'm cheap - I have to be I ain't got work much these days.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 07:49 PM

No particular rule or method. I deal with each situation on its own merits and go by that "small voice within" that is written of in some texts here and there.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 07:57 PM

I can't wait for Clinton Hammond to post on this one... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 08:02 PM

I would rather give to a charity that helps the homeless than to give to beggars. In London there are too many who are milking the system and it is difficult to differentiate between the genuine and the con merchants.

I will buy the Big Issue magazine occasionally from the street sellers - at least they're doing something to help themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 08:06 PM

It depends on where the locale is. If it is in an urban area I am hesitant to reach for my wallet, because the panhandler might have a partner lurking nearby, and it might be a scheme to either pickpocket or mug me. If I am in my own neighborhood, where I recognize who belongs here and who does not, then I will contribute. SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 08:40 PM

The perfectly able-bodied kids who hang around outside the local 7-11 and mutter "Spare change? Hey, mister, you got any spare change?" I generally either ignore and keep going, or respond to with, "Kid, there is no such thing as spare change!" and again, keep going.

Gut instinct more than anything, I guess. Not being a person of unlimited means, I prefer to call my shots, and it depends a lot on my immediate impression of the person. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If no, I just smile, say "Sorry," and keep moving.

It's always a wrench, because there are a lot of really needy, unemployed, homeless people around. If the person looks like they are for real, I say something like, "Sorry I don't have any money to spare, but if you're hungry, they have feeding programs at Central Lutheran Church on 11th and Olive, or the Pilgrim Congregational Church across from the QFC. No questions asked, and they won't make you listen to a sermon." Sometimes I get cussed at, but lots of times they thank me and head toward one church or the other.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Once Famous
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 08:44 PM

It is purely a judgement call for me by instinct and intuition.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 09:37 PM

Well, we certainly agree on this one, Martin.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 09:49 PM

We donate food and stuff (including money) to St. Vincent de Paul, to the local homeless shelter, to the local food bank, to several regional organizations. I'm talking new stuff, food and things we bought to donate. So far this year we've given over USD 500.00 worth of stuff.

The organizations we give to give the stuff away to those who in need, without strings on it except need. (The local SVdP Society helps Catholics, Mormons, Baptists -- it's actually an arm of the local Interfaith Council).

As for panhandlers and beggars, sorry. I'm sorry for their plight, but I'll give to those I know rather than those I don't know.

I avoid them by "not seeing them", by no eye contact.

As the Rabbi said, in my own neighborhood -- well, that's different.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 09:58 PM

Wow,

I agree with Martin and LH! Yee Gods!

I volunteer both time and money at the Health Care Center for the Homeless, here in Orlando. I usually give people who ask for $$ one of their cards with my name written on it. The HCCH knows about the cards and knows to make sure the person who presents one is afforded as much help as possible. Of course ANYONE who walks through the door gets the same treatment, but you'd be surprised how many men think they're getting special treatment which just might cause them to actually visit the place.

A folk group I used to play with used to do regular dinner concerts for the local men's shelter. We would enter through the back door into the kitchen. One time I came in a bit later than the rest of the group, carrying my ratty music bag and washtub bass. I was stopped at the door and told to go around the front and wait with the rest of the men for dinner. It took a while before I could convince the person (who was new) that I was with the band. They'd never heard of a washtub bass.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Little Brother
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 10:07 PM

I give 'em a buck.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Marion
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 10:44 PM

Subway (sandwich chain restaurant) used to have cards that you put a stamp on every time you buy a sandwich, then when full it was good for a free sandwich. I used to like to give these cards to panhandlers when they were filled up, but they changed it so you have to buy a drink. Does anyone know of any other common restaurants that have a buy-X-get-one-genuinely-free card? I knew of other people who did the same thing with Subway cards, and I wonder if they changed their policy precisely because too many people were doing that and they didn't like having bums in their stores.

If somebody is asking specifically for bus money or food money, I'll offer a bus token or to share food I'm carrying - but I don't believe that giving money is really helping, as too many homeless people are too addicted or too mentally ill to use the money to their benefit.

I've got to disagree with what Rapaire said, though, about eye contact. I think it's the least we can do to be courteous - to look somebody in the eye as an equal, and give a verbal response to a verbal question. It seems cruel to me to ignore somebody who's already on the fringe of society - all these little insults contribute to their feelings of alienation. Also, when I'm busking and am tired or having an unlucky day, it lifts my spirits to have somebody acknowledge me with a smile or wave or hello. I expect that panhandlers feel the same way.

You know those gift cards you can get at grocery stores, that are charged with a certain amount of money by the cashier? In Portland I saw a panhandler trying to sell a $50 card for $25. I actually hoped that the card was stolen or depleted and he was trying to scam somebody who didn't understand how the cards worked. Because the alternative was too depressing: that some very generous person wanted to give him $50 worth of food but he'd rather have $25 worth of drugs.

Marion


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 11:12 PM

When I'm in DC, say, I'll avoid eye contact. It's not that I don't see them, and I don't always ignore them. To smile at someone costs nothing. But the utter sameness!

Here at home, you bet I smile at 'em and even talk with them if they're "regulars." But we get LOTS of transients here (two interstates meet, there is a large railyard, and we're on the way to Yellowstone and other places.

Last year a transient was cooking a meal over a campfire and managed to burn 2,500 acres. This year a transient was arrested for the murder of his traveling buddy; within the last couple of weeks another has been found murdered. We've had to call the police twice already for homeless men staggering drunk around the library, another was laying in the grass drinking (eventually they are referred to social service agencies like the shelter, but many simply move on).

It saddens me. All too recently *I* was out of a job, and my youngest brother -- "laid off" last September -- still isn't working. Do not think for a moment that I don't care.

Busking is different -- you're freely giving something in exchange for money, and in my book that's not begging.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Amergin
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 11:27 PM

I buy the one of the local papers that supports homeless groups....

i also do give change or depending how generous i am feeling a dollar or so....

the ones i really like are the well dressed kids asking for change for some fries or some such stupid thing i just laugh at them


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Marion
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 11:41 PM

Hi Rapaire. I never thought that you didn't care - I thought that you were just being overly practical, i.e. thinking that the only thing that mattered was giving or not giving money or food. And I don't mean to say that busking is like begging, I only mentioned my own experiences to illustrate my point: that acknowledging somebody's presence is a small gift that won't do them harm and might do them good, so why not acknowledge them?

I remember once the director of a shelter/soup kitchen came to address our student group. When somebody asked him about responding to panhandlers, his two main points were: 1. Don't give money - it almost certainly would be feeding an addiction instead of a stomach, and 2. Look at the guy and say, "No, sorry", because it hurts to be ignored.

Of course, that's still one guy's opinion and not gospel, but I figured that he knew a lot more about the issue than I did, and I believed him.

Marion


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 04:21 AM

I'll buy the big issue and drop coins in a hat for anyone entertaining - even if it is not strictly 'busking'. I will rarely give to outright beggars but some have caught my imagination! The guy in London who looked so much like George Best looked realy confused when I gave him a couple of quid and told him to put it towards a new liver. I like the honesty of the one in Chicago who asked for a contribution to the Jack Daniels fund:-) And the young man in Weymouth went away very happy for the donation of a pair of good winter gloves.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 05:26 AM

I don't give money to beggars at all. A shake of the head and a 'sorry mate' will acknowledge them, which can be more comforting than a needle of smack. It shows that although I won't give, I don't ignore them, they are not invisible. We recycle clothes to various charities and I have bought food for some. I was driving into McDonalds at the time and he panhandled me in the queue. I said I wouldn't give him money but I would give him food, and he was quite happy with that. I asked him what he wanted, he asked for a single burger and when I gave it to him, he took it round the corner and shared it with his friend. I went back and bought them another burger each. They really were hungry!

I particularly don't form eye contact with those who haul children or animals around with them. As far as I'm concerned, it's a form of child abuse or child prostitution and animal cruelty. There is one woman who regularly begs near our home. I saw her in Knightsbridge once, in one of the more expensive shops, laying down cash for a leather bag that I later found cost £250. The following week, she was back at her pitch, with a baby (whom I've only ever seen limp, floppy and comatose), with the new £250 leather bag over her shoulder. Go figure.

Another incident proved just how kind some people can be. Sitting on a tube train, a woman in quite smart, clean muslim dress came round with a piece of card, declaring that she was Romainian, homeless and penniless, didn't speak English and could we spare some money for her. In the same carriage were the usual mix of city workers, shoppers and a tramp. The woman showed her card to the tramp who, understandably got a bit upset. He berated her for asking him for money, saying she was better dressed than he was (which was true) and that he didn't even have socks for his feet! At that, one of the city gents took a spare pair out of his briefcase and said, 'here, have these, they're clean, I keep them for when I go to the gym!'

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: mooman
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:57 AM

If they look genuine to me I'll usually give them something. But where I live there are also highly organized gangs of "beggars" but you usually get to recognise their modus operandi and I can usually recognise an addict too. So an individual "on-the-spot" judgement for me like some other posters.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 07:03 AM

I don't tip in restaurants. I know for a fact some waiters are addicts and might spend the money on drugs or alcohol. And some of them even wear better shoes than me! I offered one a sandwich once as i didn't trust him to spend the money wisely and he gave me the dirtiest look...


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 10:30 AM

Handle them? Well, I shake hands with them ... means a lot to them, Bobby from my song Bivouac of the Forgotten said so to me the other day,, better than the way the cops often handle them, rubber gloves as they give them the bums rush... well, here is another way I see them... many many of them...

The Bivouac of the Forgotten (words Lorcan Otway all rights resved. tune trad. Andrew Larmie)


Oh, Gunny is there a tent for me,
in the bivouac of the forgotten?
For I've just returned from the desert sands,
Fighting for Halliburton

No, You can share this grate with me,
and a bottle too cheap to mention
For the cost of the war that we fought
Was deducted from our pension

Oh, Gunny, all those things we've done,
will haunt my darkest dreams
And now I've lost all I had to loose
Is this what M.I.A. means?

There's Bobby here, who in Viet Nam
Had a silver star pinned on him
And Sparrow fought in Panama
And the first Gulf War brought us Big Jim

Where are the folks, who called for war
When we are cold and broken
They're urging young folks to go and die
Or return and be forgotten.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Alex.S
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 11:02 AM

Guest, I don't know what country you're in, but in America waiters are not paid a living wage. Tipping for decent service is a social requirement like wearing pants in public. Essentially, you're paying the waiter for a service because the restaurant's prices do not cover it.
   As for waiters being addicts, I can say that about half the people I know have worked as waiters at some point in their lives, and none are addicts. Even if they were, it wouldn't matter -- when someone performs a service for me, I pay him- you can't use the possibility that someone might misuse his money as an excuse to rip him off!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 11:04 AM

Alex - I think guest was writing with his/her tongue firmly lodged in his/her cheek....


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 11:12 AM

Anything can be misused. And not tipping a waiter who has done his or her job is like not paying the kid who cut your grass or the doctor who cured your cancer. They do a decent job, they desire a decent pay.

Now, I also have to say that I think that the fact that there are beggars and panhandlers at all is a f*ckin' shame (heck, if it's good enough for Dickie Cheney...). The so-called civilized world is too rich and this should not be necessary -- especially for the veterans (and yes, they're there), but also for everyone.

It seems to have gotten worse since the '80s, at least in the US. I don't want to turn this into a political thread, but it seems that was about the time of the soi-disant "Reagan Revolution"....


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Alex.S
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 11:29 AM

What do you mean, Rapaire, I thought the money is going to trickle down all the way to the beggers?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM

Oh... Dave the Gnome is right... about the gloves... Genie and I try every year we can to get friends to help raise a little money to buy thermal underwear suits for our neighbors without houses... it is a real survival thing... and has resulted in a lot of fond memories...Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 12:00 PM

I agree with what Don Firth said about choosing who to give to, and more often than not recommending the Night Shelter here in town. But there is a price at that shelter--it's in downtown Fort Worth, it's the Union Gospel Night Shelter and they harangue those folks before dinner with their religous beliefs--there is no free dinner at the Night Shelter.

As a matter of curiosity, pretty much knowing the answer but knowing that to test my theory I must come up with some cash, I recently gave a Mexican man a couple of dollars and change (he spoke little English, he said, just enough to convey that he wanted to catch a bus to a specific destination and it would cost this much). No he didn't get on the bus--as I drove from the parking lot he approached someone else. So much for just standing there and catching the bus he said he wanted. There's a law of averages--I probably won't respond favorably for the next few panhandlers I run into because of his routine.

Several years ago I was travelling with the kids (ages 4 and 7 at the time) through the Southwest and we stopped for dinner at a McDonalds in western New Mexico. A big guy approached the side of the car as I was helping the 4-year-old out and started into his spiel. I have to admit that it was quite scary to have him come over when I was alone with the kids--and I was loud and angry and probably pretty fierce when I told him to back away from the car and the never approach someone who had small children. Maybe some other mother traveling alone with small children might feel differently, but I'd be surprised. What a simple matter to grab a child as hostage, and this guy came into my "space"--walked closer than one would normally walk to talk to a stranger in public. I perceived a real threat and I didn't have a weapon except my voice, and I used my fear (disguised as anger to show less vulnerability) to make a scene that he and a few diners probably didn't forget for a while.

Depending on where I am, under other circumstances, if I have a few coins in my pocket so I can reach in without pulling out a wallet, I have been known to drop coins in a cup. In New York City, capital of the panhandling scam, there are some who really look the part. Even if it's a scam, for someone to sit in the filth of the subway and other places with a cup for several hours a day, that's a pretty horrific "job," my coins may lead to addictive behavior, but since I don't know, I have to simply choose to decide whether those coins are truly "spare" or not.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 12:05 PM

Oops--I conflated two places--the Union Gospel Mission and the Presbyterian Night Shelter, both in Fort Worth in the same general area. And they both preach at their clientele.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 01:05 PM

There's a story about one of the big names in jazz. I can't remember which name, unfortuately, but he gave Billie Holiday a hundred dollars when she was on her way down and out. Someone who was watching him said "Why'd you do that? You know she'll just spend it on dope?"

He said "Weren't you ever sick, man?"

Well, it's true, even if it never happened.

clint


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Wesley S
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 01:11 PM

Stilly - I think you may be wrong about the Presbyterian Night Shelter of Ft Worth. I've been there many times making sandwiches and I don't think they have any preaching there at all. Certainly it's not a condition for recieving a meal. If I'm wrong please let me know.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 01:35 PM

Maggie, that's one of the wise things about the two churches in Seattle that I mentioned. They're just two of a whole group of churches of various denominations on Capitol Hill and the surrounding area that offer a lunch program. They have it set up so they work in rotation, so that every day of the week, at one church or another (all pretty much within walking distance), the people who come can get a good, nourishing, well-prepared meal. Volunteers at each of the churches do the cooking and serving, and it's grown to the point where various food wholesalers make regular contributions of free food.

Knowing that the threat of a sermon will keep a lot of people away, all of the churches have agreed that all they are offering is a good meal. No strings attached. No sermons, no harassment.

And at the Union Gospel Mission and the Lutheran Compass Center downtown (near Pioneer Square), I think they do it the same way. Each of the places has a chapel anyone can go to, but you can have the meal and the cot whether you make use of the chapel or not. No pressure.

Pretty admirable, I think. Maybe even a bit unusual.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST,Larry K
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 02:42 PM

Someone I knew in Manhattan was coming home late one night and fairly tired.   A panhandler came up and said to her "can you help me out"   She thought about it, but was tired and not in the mood.   She said to the panhandler "Did you cash your welfare check this month?"   The panhandler just stood there confused.   She repeated "did you cash your welfare check this week"   The panhandler mumbeled "yes".   She replied "than I did already help you out this month" and walked away.   The panhandler stood there frozen without a reply.

One panhandler once told me after a friend gave them money "I've got to be honest with you, I am going to spend this on alcohol"   Wow what a surprise.   I would never have guessed.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 03:48 PM

My in-laws have worked at SOME (So Others May Eat) in DC for over twenty years. Church-run, but no preaching; founded by Mother Theresa. Has always seemed to me to be a decent sort of program.

I'll be cleaning out my closet over the next couple of weeks, and I'll donate the clothes to Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul or the Sally Army -- maybe some to all three, so I can spread the stuff around. Deseret Industries is also here, but they give mostly or exclusively to Mormons, I understand (although their Thrift Store is open to anyone with money).


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:15 PM

In my area there is a small Franciscan friary. Every Saturday evening, they were given the leftover sandwiches and bread from a local supermarket (and it's a very big chain) that were on the verge of expiry date and couldn't be kept over a Sunday, take them into the West End and distribute them amongst the homeless. Since the introduction of more flexible opening hours, these leftover foods have become practically non-existant, because the shop is open more hours and one opens on Monday and doesn't close until Saturday night. It's got to the point where there is no point in distributing because there is just not enough left over to make it worthwhile (I'm talking 2 or 3 where it used to be 20 or 30 a week).

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST,Mudcatter
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 08:30 PM

I've posted earlier to this thread, but I'm deliberately anonymous right now.

When I was young money was nonexistent. No father, and a mother with multiple children to feed and raise. We were on the Parish, really on the Parish, for our schooling. We often wore hand-down clothes and one of our fears was that the person who had originally owned it would see us and comment on it. Children can be cruel, even if they don't intend to be.

The nuns in the local convent would give us leftover food from their table. I often went into the nunnery yard, knocked, and was given a pan half full of lasagna or casserole, or a fruit dessert, or whatever there was. We ate it, but we felt we had really hit bottom with hand-down food.

Yes, I've been on both ends.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 11:27 PM

Quite often I'll give someone who asks spare change or a buck, but I don't listen to the story or say anything. I've been aggressively panhandled and never intend to be in that situation again. I tried to be a nice guy and it blew up in my face.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 10:32 AM

My father recently reached for a dollar to give to a bum, and the bum snatched the wallet out of his hands and ran. Didn't even have the good manners to ditch the wallet somewhere in the neighborhood where it could be returned.

The police here say not to give money to panhandlers, because they just buy liquor with it and cause problems for the residents and businesses where they are. I figure the police should know.

If you want to help, give to a reputable organization.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 02:36 PM

Wesley, perhaps I conflated more than the names. I have a friend who also used to volunteer down at the Night Shelter. I'll ask her what the case was last time she was down there. The Gospel Mission has a reputation for stern christianity, from what I hear (having never been there myself I can only repeat what I've been told). Mission Arlington is near where I work and is a big operation, much of it through a large church. I'm not sure what their policy is.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: DougR
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 04:24 PM

I tell them that our state has an unemployment office and always accept applications for work.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Wesley S
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 05:21 PM

But Doug - That's not always practical. I had a conversation with the director of a local night shelter and I asked about the residents. He said a large share of them have mental or emotional problems or handicaps that prevent them from working. Are there a lot of drunks on the street asking for money for wine ? Sure - but not all of the beggars are able to work a 9 to 5 job. And a lot of these people were thrown out on the street during the Reagan era. But that's another conversation.

This homeless shelter director said that most of us are only three or four paychecks away from the street. That's a scary idea.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 06:17 PM

Last time I tried to get a job through a state employment agency I had one of those long-continued beaurocratic experiences. My last job had been as a bookkeeper, and they told me they'd call me if they had any bookkeeping openings. I said I can do other things, look at my job history. They said yes, but we still have no jobs.

I went back later. Repeatedly. Each time they said there weren't any bookkeeping jobs, & each time I said I can do other things, and they'd say Mm.

They were doing what the regulations required & had no interest in actually fnding me a job.

I finally found a job on my own before my savings ran out, but if I hadn't I'd have been on the street with people advising me to go to the unemployment office.

There were times later in my life when I had a wife and kids and no savings and was probably less than four paychecks from the street...

There are more kinds of beggars than addicts and wealthy frauds.

clint


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 07:50 PM

The occasional times I've been between jobs and tried to make use of the state employment agency, I found it essentially useless. I have a fair potful of marketable skills (complete with substantial experience), some of which generally draw fairly decent pay, but all the state employment agency ever had was entry-level stuff, and not much of that. I found I was a whole lot better off operating by word of mouth. I let as many people as possible know I was looking for a job and gave them a run-down on what I could do and what I preferred to do. If I couldn't find a job on my own, it wasn't long before some friend gave me a call, said, "Call this number," and a few days later I was working again.

It's kind of tough if you've been working at a good paying job and then you get laid off because your company didn't get the government contract they expected. It happened to me and 67,000 other Seattlites in the early Seventies. Things got pretty damned skinny around these parts for some time. I was very lucky because while my former Boeing co-workers were competing to find work where there was no work, I learned that a local classical music radio station had an opening for an announcer (I was a regular listener to the station, that's how I learned about it). I applied for the job, and because I have a pretty good speaking voice (years of singing) and because I was the only one of several dozen applicants they'd interviewed who could read a list of composers' names without bitching them up, I got the job. These days similar "local Depressions" are happening all over the country because of companies closing plants in various localities and shipping jobs overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor. Then the only jobs available in the locality involve wearing a paper hat and throwing hamburgers out the window at passing cars for $7.16 an hour (in Washington State; $5.15 in most states; $2.65 in Kansas; and some states have no minimum wage), often for only four hours a day. And in some areas of the country, there are not many of those jobs left either. They've either all been filled by skilled workers, both blue and white collar, whose jobs have been "outsourced" and/or because the fast-food emporiums are closing because many of the folks in the town can no longer afford to eat out, not even "Happy Meals." It's called the "ripple effect" (as distinct from "trickle down").

Due to the nationwide net loss of jobs (Bush talks only about jobs created, ignoring the substantially larger number of jobs lost) in communities here and there around the country, there is an increasing number of people living in their cars, in abandoned buildings (should they be so lucky) under bridges, or in cardboard packing crates, not because they are lazy or because they can't work, but because they a) can't find a job when there are no jobs (not even the state employment agency can list jobs when there aren't any), or b) even if they have found a job, it only pays enough for them to eat or pay rent, but not both.

Not as bad (yet), but surprisingly similar to the Thirties. . . .

Simply telling people to go to the state employment office is very glib, but it isn't very realistic.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 09:55 PM

well...I guess it depends on whether they are clever or not!

Today, on my way to the store, I passed 3 within 4 blocks, standing in the median of a busy street (Rockville Pike, in Montgomery County, MD.,north of Wash DC) They held signs that said "homeless"...or variants thereof. They all looked able to work, but how am I to judge? I usually do NOT give randomly to people holding signs when I would block traffic to do so.. 'Sometimes' I do when walking, if I can size things up...but once in DC I gave some change to a youngish guy in DC with a sad story...and 2 hrs later, was approached by the same guy, who was now reeling and mumbling on whatever he had bought with earlier handouts.....kinda makes me reluctant.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: gnu
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 01:41 PM

The current thread about charities brought this, which I almost posted on that thread in addition to what I posted, to mind...

I know that giving money to "bums" (of which there are many types) is frowned on by some people so here is what I mean. I was walking Mum into a grocery store last Friday morn and we passed a young man sitting hunched up against the wall next to a pallet of potting soil. He looked bad... sunken eyes (didn't look up to make eye contact), tattoos, unkempt and dirty hair, dirty face, scrawny, dirty clotes, a plastic bag of belongings, and a sign scrawled with "travelling, Thunder Bay, broke." (Thunder Bay is 1664 miles from me.)

When I got Mum inside she asked what the sign said and then said she should have given him some money. I said I intended to but wanted to get her in the store first. She gave me $20 and asked if it was enough. I nodded. As I went outside I had a $10 bill and the next largest was not in the cards. I gave him the $30 and he almost started to cry. He said "Thanks man. You're a good man." I said "You are too. Get yer ass to Thunder Bay." I could hear him crying as I walked away.

I told Mum what I just told you, except for the "Get yer ass to Thunder Bay." and she said it made her feel good and she should have given him $50. I said that it made me feel good too.

When we came out, he was gone.

That night, I won $20 in the Lotto Max. Saturday night, $10 in the Lotto 6/49. It only cost $7 to make three people feel good. "Cast thy bread..."?

Hmmm... bread... I shoulda bought him some grub too but it didn't occur to me at the time.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Becca72
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 02:21 PM

I had a gentleman approach me a couple of nights ago as I was getting out of my car to go into my apartment. He introduced himself and asked if I could give him 90 cents so he would have enough to buy a beer. He was very personable and I gave him a dollar. He promised to do good for someone else when he got the chance; this was his comment through no prompting from me.
Now, it was before dark (I'm a woman and live alone, ya know) and it was right in public view (there were other people in the parking lot) and I live on the next street over from the police station so I took a chance and met a pretty interesting person for my troubles. Had the situation been different I might just have said "sorry" and gone inside. It's really about the vibe I get from the person.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 02:52 PM

This is a difficult one. The prisoners I used to visit assured me that they had often begged, pleading homelessness and hunger. They were actually dossing round a mate's, and the money was always for drugs. One or two said they used an old sleeping bag on the street to pretend they slept there. However, I'm too softhearted to walk by. I usually find something for a street beggar, and very often money returns to me in strange ways. Eg a skirt I bought in Primark last week turned out to be £10, not £16 as it said on the ticket. I'd just handed £2 to the Puppet Man (always outside Primark) and £2 each to a pair of E. European musicians who looked hungry and ignored by the passers-by. So Someone was watching! Last winter, the terrible cold must have been a torture for the homeless and the poor.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: gnu
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 02:59 PM

90 cents so he would have enough to buy a beer... ya can't buy a beer here for that (near double but it's Canuck beer so....) but the fact that he said it was for a beer would mean a lot to me. Honesty goes a long way with me.

Say... I bought a few beers this afternoon and there was a teenager standing in the foyer of the liquor store with a soccer ball with the "top" ripped open. No uniform on. He said hello. It was a nice day and he wasn't mowing lawns or trimming hedges or helping old ladies across the street. He was bumming money supposedly so he could play soccer. The little shit didn't even get a "hello" from me. I wanted to stop and give him shit for being such a lazy low-life... aggghhhhh!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you handle panhandlers/beggars ?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 03:27 PM

In Juneau, Alaska, it is not illegal to pan handle. It is illegal, however, to pressure someone or to impede their passing or to be aggessive in some way. This is a small town (30000) and there is a homeless shelter two blocks from me on a busy street. I give or don't give on an individual basis. When I'm walking my dog I usually don't have any money on me- and I tell them that. When I'm by myself I may give them a dollar or two. I too - as noted by someone else above - keep loose money in a pocket instead of a wallet or purse. This way, not only do they not have any idea of how much or whether I have money on my person, they can be pretty sure that I keep spare money ready to give away.

Incidentally some of the homeless here have a saying that I like. It is poignant to me- as one man told me one time: When you are homeless, Death is a constant presence. Often when I part from a homeless person, they say "Be safe." I tell them the same.

As for people buying booze instead of food with the money I give them, I figure that's not my concern. I have enough bad habits of my own without worrying about those engaged in by others.


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