Do you give money to beggars?

Old May 3rd, 2006, 05:43 PM
  #61  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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After several vacations to large U.S. cities, where my husband and I made a point of avoiding eye contact with panhandlers, ignoring them, or mumbling a "Sorry, No", we made a decision together that we can afford to part with the spare change, and that we would start to give when we felt comfortable doing so.

In every instance since then, our donation has been met with a polite "Thank you" or "God bless."

I have been blessed, and giving up that dollar is my reminder to myself to count my blessings. I really don't care what they spend it on.

Plus, panhandling is hard work for the money. How many of us could do it? It may not contribute to society, but that applies to lots of things (i.e. The National Enquirer, cigarettes, etc.)

However, in Rome, we did NOT give money to the gypsy woman with infant who got in our faces. We had been warned about it.

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Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:43 PM
  #62  
 
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Hopscotch---You are right...for some homeless people who cannot survive off of government assistance or welfare and are disabled (as in my relative's case) and cannot work, begging was a profession. It was a profession that allowed me to be able to go to middle school and once a week afford a sandwich from the store....

Begging allowed me to be able to buy a used book once a month and forget that I lived in a one room welfare hotel. And yes, I used the library all the time...that was my only refuge from the storm at times.

The disabled person worked hard since 12 years old, was born during the depression, and only unable to work due to severe disability and because of poverty and racism didn't finish highschool.

Pegontheroad--I live in San Francisco, and I feel the same way---There but for the grace of God go I. I think many people ignore or look negatively on the homeless or on beggars because they do not want to believe that the very same thing could one day happen to them. Blaming the homeless for their situation gives many people the ability to shrug off such a horrible possibility....they say things like "I would never let myself be homeless!"...as if for the majority of homeless, they all decided to be so? Preposterous. Read the facts.

Any severe devastating illness, loss of job, disaster like Katrina and every single one of us on Fodors could be in a similar situation.

Anytime I talk with people about this issue, I can feel that their responses say a lot about their upbringing. That is why I try my best to educate them on the real facts behind homelessness and poverty in one of the supposedly richest countries in the world.

Case in point---for a disabled senior citizen, cost of living is estimated at around 600 dollars per month according to Dept. of Social Services in San Francisco.

You cannot rent a studio apartment ANYWHERE in SF for 600 dollars..except for maybe an illegal inlaw unit in a person's house....and that is very iffy.

Also, the reality is that many people who are homeless also have a lack of social or familial support.

Did you know that children in foster care are one of the highest risk groups for homelessness? They have no family and no support and once they turn 18.......they have nowhere to go.

Though some things I saw as a youth were very disturbing, I am glad to have gone through it for the simple fact that I will never be the person stepping over their fellow man in the street and telling them to "get a job".

I once had an absolutely horrible date with a man whom when seeing a severely disabled person ask for change (the disabled man had either a severe case of cerebal palsy, or some sort of muscular dystropy--he could not speak, and his limbs were severely contorted and restricted) told me not to give him any money because "he is probably going to buy crack." This sad excuse for a date was not of the same ethnicity of the homeless person. I had to explain to him that I doubt that someone that severely disabled would even be able to hold a pipe. I promptly gave the man money and I felt so bad about how hard his life must be.

I am glad I never went out with that sad excuse of a man again!

And before anyone gets angry, I do NOT agree with aggressive or rude panhandling. That is uncalled for. If I cannot afford to give someone money, I treat them like a human being and tell them that I am sorry.

Yes, this is a sensitive topic for me, and if you want any info on this topic and you feel that maybe I am being naive, I will more than gladly provide you with information that says otherwise.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:46 PM
  #63  
 
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Also, I did give money to a little boy in Paris. I think it was obvious that I was American and he started to speak and I had a feeling what he was saying though my french was not good at all. I gave him money....afterall, he is still a child and even if it was a con, he is still a child.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 02:42 AM
  #64  
 
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"It was a profession that allowed me to be able to go to middle school"

They charge for public schools?
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Old May 4th, 2006, 02:49 AM
  #65  
ira
 
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Hi gard,

>Do you give money to beggars?<

Never. For the reasons you cited, and more.

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Old May 4th, 2006, 07:23 AM
  #66  
 
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They don't charge for public schools, but often it costs to go. For instance, you aren't earning money in a job if you're in school. You need clothes, food for lunch, sometimes books and materials fees. I remember being very 'tight' financially in elementary school, and being teased mercilessly since I only had a couple outfits I wore every day.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 07:32 AM
  #67  
 
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For those who don't want to look street people in the eye... depends on the situation and how crazy or not I judge them to be, but saying "good morning" and treating them with respect even if you don't want to give money, I feel is appropriate (this is in my home city, not traveling, where I "know" my street people both in my neighborhood and nearby my office).

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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:14 AM
  #68  
 
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Carrybean---it costs money for transportation to school.....because we were homeless, i did not always leave near my school.

It costs money to be able to afford a place where I can take a shower. How many adolescent girls would be willing to go to school if they know they had not had a shower in a week, or had clothes that were three sizes too small and only flip flops to wear?

I will think positive and think that you are asking the question out of sheer curiosity.

I would advise you to check out the website that I linked above...it is very informative and can help you with some of the misconceptions you may have.

Also, did you know that much of the truancy in public schools is related to hunger??

Check it out.....
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:16 AM
  #69  
 
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If I am to be honest it depends on my mood. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Sometimes I too buy food and give it. If they have a pet with them I usually buckle and give something.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:58 AM
  #70  
JJ5
 
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No.

But at home (although it's rare by us to even see begging, I think the weather is a deterent)- I will often talk to them. I call DCFS if it is kids. I network an address in writing if it isn't.

In my country there is help available. To continue to support a begging lifestyle just increases the consquences of all the negatives of that same lifestyle. You aren't helping, you are actually hurting. Just as any other enabler does.

One time I bought someone a good meal and watched them eat it. That's the only way I'd ever give anyone money for food. We operate a food pantry in my town and I'm active in it and supply many vegetables. There are no questions asked, nor can you see who even frequents its location, the way it is set up.

In European nations I would consider the circumstances to be rather similar and would not give money to beggars.

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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:16 AM
  #71  
 
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Never --- with the exception for those who at least try to give something back. Anyone who is begging, but playing an instrument, or in some way trying to please me, or make my day better, gets a handout from me.

I know there is a fuzzy line between beggars and street entertainers, but that is what guides my decision to dip into my pocket or not. The sound of a sprightly tune as I trudge through the Tube or Metro picks up my day, and loosens my purse strings.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:47 AM
  #72  
P_M
 
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One time we were having a cookout in the park when a begger approached and asked for a sandwich. I gave it to him and he said, "thank you, God bless you." He walked away and never asked for money. I later felt bad for not packing several sandwiches for him, but I just didn't think of it at the time.

Here in Austin we have a good number of beggers who hold up signs saying, "Will work for food." I know several people who have offered work to those people, and they always say, "can't you just give me cash?" That makes me mad.

So my answer would be if they only want food, then yes I will help. If they want cash, forget it.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:49 AM
  #73  
P_M
 
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Let me re-state that: If they refuse food and only want cash, forget it.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 11:01 AM
  #74  
 
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I used to have season seats at the Music Center in Los Angeles, there was the absolute worse pupeteer on the plaza outside. He crouched behind a box, played opera on a boom box and did a puppet show at the same time and he was serious. I always gave him money because he had come up with a way to amuse people even if he had no talent. I had to hand it to him, pun intended.
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