Do you give to beggars?

Aug 13th, 2003, 07:19 AM
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Do you give to beggars?

Just wondering: Do any of you give to beggars they see on the street? Generally, I want to help people, so I donate time and money to certain charitable causes. However, I don't give to someone on the street. Any more,I'm frankly a little skeptical when I see someone begging. I wonder whether they are part of a bigger organization. That said, some beggars appear to work harder than they would if they held a "normal" job (which makes you wonder, also). Your thoughts?
Bitter is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 07:28 AM
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Yep...I give!
In the Paris Metro there is an elderly woman...neat as a pin....and god-forbid she looks like my could I walk right by?
Even at home in NY...I carry change!!

Bailey is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 07:33 AM
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In London there was a young man, he was someones son! sitting in a door way cold and pitiful. He didn't ask and we were on our way into a restaurant. But when we came out he was still there and there I was full and comfortable, how could I not give him something to hopefully at least feed him!
I do avoid the "gypsy" types and here at home I cross the street to avoid the scary loud beggars..I know, I am a wimp
Scarlett is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 07:34 AM
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I normally dont give money. I will give food. In my area most people panhandling spend it on cigarettes, booze, or drugs. No way I am working to support someones habits.
JandaO is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 07:54 AM
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Never! Most of these people are professional beggars who would rather spend their days trying to relieve you of your money instead of devoting their energy to getting skills and jobs. I do donate money to certain legitimate pet charities so I'm reasonably sure that my hard earned money goes where it's needed.
irishdame is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 07:54 AM
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I give money sometimes; especially to old people. I'm sure most young and fit people would be able to find something else to do apart from begging; most European countries have a pretty good social security system. There is no excuse for begging in Holland, for example. I also object to people taking their young children out to beg. I once had a woman at Christmas time ask me for money because she couldn't afford to buy her kid (who was with her in a stroller) any presents. I gave her one of the toys I bought for my own kids, and she was not happy at all!
Tulips is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 08:00 AM
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I used to because I am one big softie but I don't anymore. That's because I once gave both food and money to a beggar--he looked so hot and pitiful that I couldn't pass him by. Later I saw he tossed the lunch (my lunch, which was certainly good enough for me to eat!) in a trash can. That soured me on street donations, especially since it has been drilled into me from childhood not to waste food (all those starving African children, you know). However, my husband and I donate very generously and regularly to many charities, and I have a mountain of address stickers and calendars to prove it!

One exception, though. If someone is performing on the street, and we enjoy it, we always throw a few coins in the hat for our entertainment.
Aug 13th, 2003, 08:08 AM
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Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

If someone smells of booze or cigarettes then definitely no, for reasons above - I'm not giving them money to fun such things but for them to buy food.

Generally, when I'm working in one place regularly I start to recognise regular homeless people in the area, greet them and give some also.

What I prefer to do is go into a local food store, buy some food and give that. Then I know that they got some good food rather than just some money to spend on whatever.

It's easy to then tell the genuine from those who are just scamming. Those who are scamming throw the food down in disgust - we're talking freshly bought food, not my leftovers. Those who are genuine seem pleased.

Just my thoughts anyway.
Kavey is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 08:10 AM
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When I was living in Washington, DC I would give food, usually fruit, to this one female beggar who was a Gulf War I veteran. She always accepted it and thanked me.

I don't give to beggars here in Oslo, but I do help out organizations that help these people (i.e. actual physical labor, cooking food, etc).
lillehavfrue is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 08:19 AM
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More and more I have seen signs posted asking people not to give to beggars as the city or country or other charitable organizations do make meals and beds available to them -- both in the US and in Europe. Your money could be better spend supporting those organizations. In many places there is really no reason for a person to root through garbage cans looking for food or begging for money as there really are places that will provide food for them.

On the other hand, I do give to musicians and entertainers who are "working" the streets. I consider that a whole different matter. And I have paid a couple of "street kids" in Turkey to polish my shoes when they begged to do so. I find it hard not to support someone trying to "earn" his own keep.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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I was walking down the street in NYC a couple of years ago and saw a girl sitting with her head to her knees, her arms around her knees and a cup in front of her. As I got closer I looked at her hair. It was beautifully, professionally highlighted. I realized I had just paid $140. for my daughter to have the same look in her hair. She must make a lot of money with that little cup. Nope, I don't give. In fact I don't even give to charities without seeing a financial report. Too many rip offs.
Ann1 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Yes I do give to panhandlers, both at home and when traveling. No judgements about where the money goes.

Yes I also give to the local food bank which helps so many and in a more organized fashion.
suze is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Well, I did once see a child playing a trumpet very badly, and the sign said he was saving for music lessons. That made me smile, so I give him some coins. I also give to street performers if they are good.
Tulips is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 09:58 AM
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In San Francisco years ago, my young son wanted to give his allowance to a blind man sitting on a pier. He put the money in the man's cup and it blew out, the man got up and picked it up, my son in all innocence asked the man "I thought you couldnt see" and the man brushed him away with a grunt.

I have given food to beggers too, and had them turn and throw it away right in front of me. I know they must be mentally disturbed, but I know too that there are charities and organizations that can help them better than I can.

nocinonut is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 10:07 AM
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I have a similar story to nocinut- in San Luis Obispo there was a soup kitchen being run by the mission. My daughter wanted to give some of her pocket money to a tramp but was persuaded to give it to one of the organisers instead. Then she saw one of the people who had just been given a meal turn it in to a dish and feed it to his dog!
Frances is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 10:22 AM
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I give to the local shelter, not to the street people themselves. I was approached once for "diaper money" and took the young woman into the drug store to buy diapers for her baby but she couldn't remember his size or age! When I left, she was trying the line on someone else. But also, but for the grace of God....
palette is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 10:35 AM
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Indirectly, yes: part of the taxes I pay to the state and federal governments goes to welfare checks and other benefits these people receive, in some instances unjustifiably so.

Directly, never: I'd rather give them a blank job application. Doubt they'd be interested in that..............
redhook is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 11:23 AM
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Ever since I read "The Man with the Twisted Lip" by A.C.Doyle, I've been a real skeptic. Well, that and seeing the same guy looking for change "just so I can get a subway token" every day on the same spot.
ellenem is online now  
Aug 13th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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No, no, no. People already think American's are foolish enough without having us walk around handing out free money.

This is especially true in Asia, but I wouldn't do it in Europe either. Having spend 3 years in Asia, I've seen what begging can do to a village and to young children.

Please don't do it.
italyclimber is offline  
Aug 13th, 2003, 12:08 PM
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My, how callous some of you are. I guess I have a different attitude because I am a Buddhist. We aren't talking about giving to beggars in the US, we are talking about giving to beggars WHILST TRAVELING. This is a TRAVEL FORUM, darlings. Yes, there are soup kitchens, welfare, social service organizations, etc. in the US. But, many foreign countries don't have these services. Irishdame says let them get a job, but how do you get a job in India if you have elephantiasis of the legs and can't walk????? How do you get a job if you don't have eyes and never went to school a day in your life??? Many of these people beg, but offer something, like a pencil, in return for your money. Yes, there are cheats, but I think these people are easy to spot. I think some of you are too cynical and overly concerned about giving up that pathetic 25 cents.
ThinGorjus is offline  

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