Do you give money to beggars?

Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:59 AM
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In Europe begging is often a way to get you to reveal where you are carrying your money or to distract you. Others you don't see are watching.

Europe has an extensive network of public and private assistance to those in need.

nessundorma is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 07:33 AM
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I rarely give money to beggars but I will buy them food if they're hungary.

The other day I saw a young college student counting change to buy gas and I threw in a few bucks. He didn't ask and I got the instant reward to see his face go from worry to great relief. That was money well spent.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Yes I do. Not every person in every place, but often.
suze is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 07:50 AM
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This same question was posed on the forum (geared toward expats in Belgium) and here were the respondents' views:
BTilke is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 07:55 AM
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No, never, not at all. The same goes for those unknown charities that have people with cans going up to stopped cars at traffic lights.

I only give money through my church or charities I know well, such as the Salvation Army.

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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:01 AM
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At home in San Francisco area, when I go into town I always buy a copy of the "Street Sheet," a small newspaper put out by homless or down and out folks and sold for a dollar. It encourages productive activity and legal entrepreneurship. (It's also my "get out of jail free" card for the rest of the evening.)

Beyond that I don't give cash; I worked in the community mental health system long enough to suspect where the money was going. I have bought meals for people begging, however, when that's what they wanted.

When traveling, I am less inclined to do so for reasons mentioned above, i.e., I don't know the scams from the ones genuinely in need, And I agree that it has the potential to encourage the practice. I will generally give to what look like legitimate causes campaigning on the streets (diseases, local charity drives) in other countries and we do donate pretty extensively at home to local groups.
annw is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:10 AM
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I would never give to those who follow you around and get in your face about it. I was moved by someone I saw in Prague. She was kneeling by the door of a church. She was very old, her head bowed in a very uncomfortable position and wasn't moving at all. She never made eye contact or made a sound. Her palms were raised to receive anything we felt we could part with. Her poverty seemed very sincere.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:13 AM
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I'm inconsistent on this one, I admit. I normally give to charities I know. If some one is pestering me for money? No, never. But the ones who simply hold out a cup? If I have spare change quickly available, I sometimes toss it in. What the heck, I figure.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:18 AM
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I saw a begger in Seville, Spain. He was missing both legs and one arm. But that was about the only time I gave money.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:23 AM
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Generally I do more volunteering than giving money though I support a few causes with cash. I almost always throw some coins into the cases of street musicians.

wojazz3 is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 09:20 AM
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Living in San Francisco, I see a lot of different types of begging, from sidewalk performers to old people in wheelchairs. Who get out of those wheelchairs at the end of their shift to walk home.

Generally, I send checks to charities. Also volunteer.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 09:48 AM
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On the home turf: I will only give food and drinks, hardly money. This weeds out those who ask for money under the guise of getting food.

Now, call me a cynical NYer, but I see the begging everyday since I was little. I know most of us are fortunate to have the money to travel, let alone the basic necessities to survive, and I'm thankful for that. And I also know that there are some who just have endless bad luck, and constantly compounded it could lead you down the homeless and hungry road.

I feel sad for them during extreme weather conditions, but there's only so much I can do for them before I go broke myself, and I only have so much time to volunteer as work has sucked away any trace of my social life. I will never hesitate to ask them what they want to eat and drink, and would rather spend my money providing them the basic necessity than give money to someone who might spend it on other things.

As for beggars abroad...I'm not sure, but the elderly melt my cold NY heart.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 09:52 AM
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Faina, too funny! I've seen that too. If only the city folks here be allowed to start a thread, what's the funniest "homeless" act you've seen?
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 10:48 AM
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Miami had a lot of begging in the streets, especially 'window washers' who would jump to your car and wash the window when you exited the highway, without asking, then ask for a dollar in payment. I ignored these, as I never asked for the service.

I have frequently given away food I had (a banana, a sandwich, a soda) to those on the side of the road. I rarely, if ever, give cash. I will give whatever change i have on hand (usually a big handful) to firefighters and the like collecting for charities.

In foreign climes, I will toss a donation to anyone who is performing street music, as I love music and consider that an addition to the ambience, and my travel experience. Much better to encourage people to work for the money by adding to the beauty of the world!

I won't give in to anyone who actively accosts me, though. To me, that's downright rude, uncalled for, and probably a scam.

GreenDragon is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:01 AM
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Several people have mentioned street performers in this thread. I almost invariably give these people money.

However, I don't see them as beggars but rather as people offering a legitimate service for which one may choose to pay or not.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:03 AM
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It depends on the situation. Across the street there is an pedestrian underpass. On weekends there are always one or two people playing (awfully poor!) music. They're always where most people have to pass. Right under one big! sign "No begging, loitering, or playing music, this area is designated to public traffic. City of Munich"

Now would you leave money in such a situation?
logos999 is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Nope, not if it is specifically against the law there. Only law-abiding beggars, please!

And yes, I consider 'busking' to be on a much higher level than 'begging'. Also, begging for a cause (like the firefighters) are on a higher level than begging for yourself (because they are much more likely to be doing so honestly).
GreenDragon is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:23 AM
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My rule of thumb with beggars in general:

Yes to veterans, women or children or obviously physically handicapped people.

No, to healthy adult males (except veterans).

In Europe, I am more careful and wary of scams and threats of robbery.
Powell is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Never and my son walks by and says "get a job."

Powell- as for women and children, in Nice there are several women holding small kids who are totally passed out on their lap. I watched as a women with a boy about 3 years old changed his nice shirt to a torn dirty one. Then she put a scarf on her head and changed her facial expression to total pitiful. It is a scam.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:44 AM
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>It is a scam
This is were you should call the police. It doesn't happen in Munich anymore since the woman is guilty of child neglect and the child will be taken to a foster home. Very effective and helpful to the kid.
logos999 is offline  

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