Panhandling...

Being my internet is off due to moving, I'm in McD's doing a quick report and a woman comes in with a sign asking for money. The kind gentleman in front of me gives her a 10.00 bill, and she grabs it and shows him her sign which says I have 3 kids..he politely says that's all I have, no thank you... sorry, but show some thanks..

Live consciously....

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Wow. She probably does have three kids -- all in foster care because she's going to spend that $10 for her next fix.

I'm careful who I give money to these days. Better to buy a meal, give a coat, or donate to an organization that can take the $10 and feed ten people lunch.

“I am convinced that knowledge is power - to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.” ~Ben Carson
I give money to people I know for a fact really need help. Like my friend in Florida who has a few kids and is a single mom. She and I have been friends since high school. Her kids' father is a bum, left her when the boys were little, and he is about 15k behind on child support. I send her snacks from my convenience store shops on my post office shops and will slip in some stamps or a little money from time to time. As far as panhandlers go, no money. I will give them bottled drinks and snacks from my convenience store shops. Usually they don't seem very thankful.
A few years ago I walked past a few panhandlers on the sidewalk. I offered my leftovers and told them that the company I worked for was hiring for entry level positions. One of the guys told me he didn't want my food or a job. He said he has a nice house outside the city where he lives with his wife and kids. He said his wife has a job to prove they have a legitimate income. He also said he makes more than she does begging from tourist and it is all TAX FREE. His kids get financial aid for college since the family taxable income is low and they go on amazing vacations each year. He told me that he makes more in a day than I did in a week.

That really changed the way I feel about people out begging for money.
I generally find that it is best to either donate to or volunteer for non-profit organizations that are working to help folks in meaningful ways as opposed to handing panhandlers cash. (Okay, I'll give them my JIB purchases, too.)

There are many different reasons folks end up on the streets: Some folks just screwed up. Some had major misfortunes and lacked family support. Some want to get off the streets. Some don't. Many are mentally ill. Many others are fighting various addictions.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Usually the ones who need help the most (and the mentally ill) are not visible, which is unfortunate. Elderly shut-ins, for example, and some disabled people--they aren't the ones hanging around the exit ramps or intersections begging. And a lot of those elderly people were raised in a generation where they have too much pride to seek a handout and feel as if they are taking advantage of the system to go on disability or welfare. But I do see some guys in wheelchairs or crutches from time to time begging, and it makes me wonder if they are faking it (unless they are obviously missing a limb or something).

I know that there was some guy running a "panhandler's school" where he taught people how to dress down and look the part, how to make their signs, what phrases to use, etc. I am sure those people all could have gotten employment easily enough. You would hope by now that the general public would catch on that many panhandlers don't need or deserve a handout. I know that where I live, in the summer they rotate territories like they are part of some group working together. There is one woman we call "sad girl" (she lowers her eyes and has a frozen down-turned mouth as she holds up her "please help" sign) and I see her sometimes at the interstate ramp near my house, sometimes 20 miles north of here, or in another area of town. They probably count on most people sticking to a particular route of daily commuting instead of mystery shoppers who are all over the place. And I remember reading a newspaper article about some guy who followed a woman after she was done with her "shift" and saw her getting into a luxury automobile that was parked a few blocks away from her "workplace". SMH.

MFJ, it's my understanding that the homeless population in your region is exploding, as in other areas on the West Coast. Here, it's not that bad. It was 19 degrees out this morning and we only have about 5 months of warm weather a year here, which might have something to do with why homelessness here isn't that bad...they would die from exposure living on the streets around here, so they move to more moderate climates. Additionally the cost of living is very low here compared to the West Coast.
I absolutely loathe the type of people mentioned above, the ones who could and should work but have found a way to live off of the misplaced compassion of others. There are many, many desperately sad and homeless people out there, but the frauds cause us all to harden our hearts and distrust anyone we see like that.

Once while I was eating in a parking stall at a ff place (on a shop), I saw a women drive up to a nearby lot. She was in a nice late model car, got out nicely groomed and with attractive makeup and attire, then proceeded to muss up her hair, wipe off the makeup, take off the expensive shoes and put on a dirty sweatshirt and those $3 sneakers from the cheapo store. She opened the trunk and pulled out her cardboard sign, then set up right near the exit from the ff place. I was there 8-10 minutes and saw several people hand her money. I called the cops but she wasn't breaking any laws.
Funny how McD's allow panhandlers while most coffee houses don't. This woman was dressed nicely, clean, wool scarf around her head and not drugged out. Many are too proud to ask, many don't care, but at least be appreciate when you get a hit like a 10.00 bill. When we let many in from third world countries, they will panhandle, thinking all American's are rich.....and yes, they do get assistance from colleges without paying taxes.
The U.C.L.A. schools have a minority quota to fill, our kids come after that....got off subject....had that experience.

Live consciously....
"Usually the ones who need help the most (and the mentally ill) are not visible, which is unfortunate. Elderly shut-ins, for example, and some disabled people--they aren't the ones hanging around the exit ramps or intersections begging."

JASFLALMT, you are so right. And yes, some of the ones in wheelchairs are indeed faking it. I once saw a guy wheel himself over and navigate between the side of a gov't building and some shrubs. He stood up, stretched a bit, then left a liquid deposit on the side of the building before walking around a bit, then getting back into the wheelchair.

This is a very touchy subject for me. I have a mentally ill family member who is "on the street." There is no help.
I don't care what the panhandler is doing with the money and I don't care if they are a fraud. If I have a little money to give and I feel like it, it's about me. What kind of person am I? Am I a person who hardens their heart and walks right past someone asking for help? I hope I am never that person. I would rather give to a fraud once in awhile then be that person.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
I worked in DC for a long time. There's quite a few homeless there. I came to the conclusion that even if the person panhandling isn't really homeless, there's still something wrong enough with their life that they're willing to do that. If the person simply has no conscious, then that in itself still deserves my compassion. Maybe not my money, but that's it's own kind of sickness. It'll spread to their children. It's just as contagious and hereditary as mental health or other hereditary health problems. The children will learn from the parents. Honestly, who is to say that it doesn't come with it's own mental health label in some cases.

That being said, if I decide to give money to a homeless person, and there were a number who I would take to get breakfast, etc, but who I would also give money, sometimes, I just figure that I might be in the same situation at some point in my life and it really sucks to have someone tell me how to spend money that I have been handed. I mean.. I'm in that situation now, to some extent, but not because I've got an addiction. But I look at it this way.. everyone has a right to their own choices. I don't fault anyone for choosing not to pay for a potential addict's next fix. But not giving them money doesn't stop them from getting the fix. It just drives them to do it in another way. I swear I'm just rambling and this actually isn't meant to be a lecture. I hate that poser bs too, truthfully. It really does make you want to smack someone for not being more grateful.

But I had a friend that was an addict, and she was effectively homeless. I was the only person who didn't judge her and I was the one she spoke to right up until the point where she got bashed in the head by a cop with an attitude. I was working to get her out of that situation (she didn't live near me). But honestly, I hold out some hope that maybe I'll make a difference for the next person because you never know when that kindness might make a difference to someone.

But all you can do about the greed of some people who can't appreciate everything, is roll your eyes and label that person. I used to stop and talk to the homeless people. That was often as appreciated as money, honestly. Being homeless often means you're invisible. I really hate it when charlatans ruin it for people who have a genuine need.
When I offer someone food and drink when they ask me for money to buy food, and then they don't show appreciation and I can tell they don't really want or need it, why should I give them money? I have actually had a few people say (on a hot day when I handed them a bottle of cold water) something to that effect (and sometimes in a belligerent manner): "I don't like water. Give me some money so I can buy a soda." I personally am very frugal and I don't drink soda, I don't buy compulsively from a convenience store as I keep food and drinks in my cooler to save money. Why should I give money to someone who is so ungrateful?

I knew someone who was a giver to a fault. She put herself in deep debt because she fell for scams, often from her neighbors or just people she didn't know very well. Her kids had to bail her out financially many times, even though some of them couldn't afford it. She was nearly 90 when she passed away, and she was still working, even though she was sick. She played it off that she wanted to work, but every time any of her kids spoke to her she would always say how tired she was. She never let on how bad things were financially or with her health. At the end of her life, she had borrowed so much money against her house that her house was worthless and there was nothing left to bury her with. No one knew how broke she was and how overwhelming she must have found it all. After her death, her kids found all the unpaid credit card bills, too. All the family heirlooms had been sold (or stolen) so there were very few mementos to leave to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I found it tremendously sad.

More than once we have "chosen" a family at Christmas that was deemed needy and bought food and presents for them so that their kids could have a real Christmas. I have given to the food banks and homeless shelters and I have no problem with that. I am in a much better capacity to help others if I am not in debt myself, and I am not falling prey to anyone's scams (if I can help it). I do care, very much, if someone is a fraud. I would rather give to those who truly need it.

@CoffeeQueen wrote:

I don't care what the panhandler is doing with the money and I don't care if they are a fraud. If I have a little money to give and I feel like it, it's about me. What kind of person am I? Am I a person who hardens their heart and walks right past someone asking for help? I hope I am never that person. I would rather give to a fraud once in awhile then be that person.
I often wonder about research. Are posers who gather information for research purposes, in the same category as people who would rather spend your money than get some of their own?

Anyway, I rarely have cash and things to give to posers, the needy, and research tools. My area has few panhandlers. Some of the known needs are met via organized efforts

This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before. - Leonard Bernstein
@CoffeeQueen wrote:

I don't care what the panhandler is doing with the money and I don't care if they are a fraud. If I have a little money to give and I feel like it, it's about me. What kind of person am I? Am I a person who hardens their heart and walks right past someone asking for help? I hope I am never that person. I would rather give to a fraud once in awhile then be that person.
I'll send you my PP address. I sure could use some help. No thanks, I don't want your post office dollar pasta. I really need the money.

“I am convinced that knowledge is power - to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.” ~Ben Carson


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 03:54AM by iShop123.
A few years ago, I was coming out of the grocery store, with a full cart. As I was putting my groceries in the trunk, a woman approached me and asked if I could help her feed her family dinner. She didn't ask for money. She wanted me to go back in the store with her. We walked back in the store. I went to the produce department, suggesting fresh fruit and vegetables. She was not interested. We went to the meat department. I suggested chicken. Value packs of leg quarters were on sale. She was not interested. She wanted a 24-pack of weiners. I took her to the bread aisle and we got buns. I asked if she wanted the makings for baked beans or a fresh slaw. She didn't. She asked for potato chips.

I was interested in nutrition. She was not. I spent about $8. I was not thanked. Different worlds.
Thank you, Mert. This song just popped into my head when I read your post...


(This song is by Jesse Stone)

Coleslaw


Down in Arkansas
They serve you coleslaw
Chopped up finer than a bale of straw

When you crunch and gnaw
A bunch of coleslaw
Keep chew-chewin like a cross cut saw

Exercise you jaw
By eatin coleslaw
Best ol goodness that you ever saw

You can break no law
By wantin coleslaw
It ain't nothin' but some cabbage raw

It can't be beat
Just the simplest of a treat
Its fine with meat
Or with anything you eat
Your chops flip flop
You'll enjoying every drop
Your teeth go bop
You'll never stop

Yes in Arkansas
They serve you coleslaw
That's good strategy without a flaw

It's a cinch to draw
A plate of coleslaw
It ain't nothin' but some cabbage raw

...

Yes in Arkansas
They serve you coleslaw
That's good strategy without a flaw

It's a cinch to draw
A plate of coleslaw
It ain't nothin' but some cabbage raw

No bread
No meat
No potatoes and nothin' as sweet

All I want
Is a lot of coleslaw

This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before. - Leonard Bernstein
I volunteer at a food bank once a month. It's obvious the people who are truly in need; and it's obvious the people who are taking advantage.

I was in a parking spot in a strip mall after a sandwich shop. Someone blocked me in and came to my window. She said, "Can I have some money for food?" Before the shock wore off, I told her no. I didn't even think to offer her my hoagie.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I mean, I really dislike pushy people in general, and honestly, I don't care if they're homeless or dressed in Gucci walking down the street like they own it (perhaps that isn't mutually exclusive in some cases...?). I dislike that sense of entitlement in anyone. I despise it when you do something for someone and all they can do is criticize that you didn't do it their way, or you didn't ask them if you could do something for them (this is my sister most often). Well, the heck with you. I'll remedy that. I won't do it anymore.

BUT - sometimes that's just a personality flaw. If you were interacting with my sister on a regular basis, you'd see that along with this personality flaw is a sense of commitment to family (hers is actually far stronger than mine). And a sense of not letting family do without (even though you have to put up with the snarky complaints about how we all use her, blah blah). I mean, there's a lot more to it, but the point is along with that sense of entitlement that she has, there's also a balance.

With other people, it might be a sense of urgency, or a learned pattern of not everyone else on the street is nice and they only can make it if they act aggressively. Or it could be that they just feel entitled and feel like you owe them YOUR money. Or, it could be that the last person they asked nicely for money spit on them or ignored them or called them names and they're acting out in anger because they're used to being treated like they're lower than dirt. I mean, there's just so many possibilities. One of the homeless guys I used to help out. He was Asian, and I'm not certain but I believe he was Japanese. He could be downright hostile to other people and he may have been slightly crazy. But I was always kind to him and he was always kind to me. He couldn't speak English very well, and I often wondered how he ended up homeless on the streets of DC. But he could be downright scary at times to other folks.

So, I can totally get where everyone is coming from. I just tend to be middle of the road and usually see both sides (I'm totally a fence sitter in a lot of cases). But I can also see how the way that legitimately homeless people have been treated can lead to that behavior. That's why I don't always determine that an attitude means they're not really struggling. After they prove it to me a second time, though, I'm done. But hey, if anyone gives, then they deserve kudos for that. Kindness in any capacity should be celebrated and my earlier comment probably seemed "judgey" when it really wasn't intended to be. I am heartened by anyone who helps in any way. It makes me feel like the world is a better place and it's not heading into the pits of despair and destruction with each passing day. grinning smiley
I give to the well run homeless shelter and recovery program for women in DC and to the new one like it about 2 miles from me. One of my best friends formerly spent 8 years being homeless on 2 different occasions. When her un-diagnosed illness was finally discovered and the right treatment became effective, she was able to qualify for SS disability and regain her freedom, even on that VERY limited income. She is highly educated and formerly was a technical editor for manuals that trained military technicians on how now to blow themselves up in the course of their work. She is now a very active lay-minister in a large church and serves on several church boards. But, the trauma of homelessness never disappears.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
@Mert

A few years ago, I was coming out of the grocery store, with a full cart. As I was putting my groceries in the trunk, a woman approached me and asked if I could help her feed her family dinner. She didn't ask for money. She wanted me to go back in the store with her. We walked back in the store. I went to the produce department, suggesting fresh fruit and vegetables. She was not interested. We went to the meat department. I suggested chicken. Value packs of leg quarters were on sale. She was not interested. She wanted a 24-pack of weiners. I took her to the bread aisle and we got buns. I asked if she wanted the makings for baked beans or a fresh slaw. She didn't. She asked for potato chips.

I was interested in nutrition. She was not. I spent about $8. I was not thanked. Different worlds.


Maybe she didn't have the means to cook. No stove/oven...

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 03:17PM by tiana228.
McDonald's has a dollar menu. It's not too hard to feed 3 kids with $10. But where were the kids? If the kids weren't with her and she had no stove or oven, $10 can still buy a good bit of cereal and milk at the grocery store.
One of my library club friend works at a food kitchen, she told me that what amazes her is that some of the people complain about the cut of meat or the brands.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 05:32PM by shopper8.
I make a delicious healthy soup: 1 half pkg. lentils, 2 carrots, 1 can chicken broth/ 4 cups water, 1 small red potato, the cost is, $2.50 and it last for days. Ralph's here has day old bread and pastries for 1.00, the food truck comes daily to bring this stuff to our food bank. I buy them, freeze them and enjoy, smart shoppers can get food for next to nothing, problem is preference, if you want a good steak, go to work. I do have compassion for those in need. Minimum wage is 15.00 an hour, keeping one's pride is important for your children to see. I do give to our woman's home, Veteran's, and Goodwill, also donate to Cancer, as I lost two important people in my life. My sister has Alzheimer's, is in a home, and worked all her life, from 19 to 80...bad things happen to good people.

Live consciously....
There was a YT video on surviving furlough where a woman showed how to shop IN MANHATTAN (arguably the most expensive city in the US) on half of what govt benefits were. Most of the time, it's about choices and taking responsibility for those choices. (I said "most"; there are cases where it's out of someone's control or the consequences are the result of someone else's actions. These are, I'm sure, in the minority.)

Within 20 miles of me, on the bus route, there are 11 different food banks. On top of that, various churches, senior centers, and charitable organizations offer meals. No one need go hungry; it's simply that it may be rice and beans rather than steak and asparagus. Choices.

“I am convinced that knowledge is power - to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.” ~Ben Carson
Thank you for donating JAS! Everything counts at a food bank, whether it's cash, food items, pet food or toiletries.

Whenever I come across people in need, I refer them to the food bank where I volunteer. A few have actually shown up.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

More than once we have "chosen" a family at Christmas that was deemed needy and bought food and presents for them so that their kids could have a real Christmas. I have given to the food banks and homeless shelters and I have no problem with that. I am in a much better capacity to help others if I am not in debt myself, and I am not falling prey to anyone's scams (if I can help it). I do care, very much, if someone is a fraud. I would rather give to those who truly need it.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
When I was in my 20s, I spent my rent money on a purse, magic beans, or something equally frivolous. Who knew rent had to be paid every month! In order to pay rent, I had to cut back in other areas. Food was the easiest.

Instead of eating out on campus and grocery shopping at Reading Terminal, I bought a can of Spam (spices, ham). I already had the beans and rice at home. I cubed the Spam and mixed it it with the beans and rice. Cooked it up and I had a delicious meal.

@iShop123 wrote:

No one need go hungry; it's simply that it may be rice and beans rather than steak and asparagus. Choices.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
Yeah, no need to add any salt to the beans or rice that way, LOL. But hey, I ate a lot of ramen in college. I remember being so broke I had to choose between a can of corn or a can of green beans for dinner. I was skinny.
I see this kind of entitlement at the food bank. Last month, the food bank offered packaged turkey lunch meat, 5 per person. That was 5 pounds of lunch meat. One person complained that there was no variety.

The food bank is housed at my church. Several different churches participate, including serving breakfast. Breakfast is a full plate of decent, home cooked food. Someone complained about the portions, saying it was just enough to fill you up.

It's frustrating to see people act like that, but I keep the bigger picture in mind.

@shopper8 wrote:

One of my library club friend works at a food kitchen, she told me that what amazes her is that some of the people complain about the cut of meat or the brands.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
There are always going to be those people. I don't understand it but I try to ignore it. I've eaten more rice and beans than most people ever will. I grew up po'. Not poor, po'. (As Oprah would explain.) I still eat simply but make healthier choices. I eat things like sweet potatoes and sliced chicken breast or whatever veggie is on sale I know how to cook almost all of them. I almost never eat anything that comes out of a box. And if it's fried and slathered in gravy, no. Just no.
But our society has normalized bad food. If you just watch tv and don't research you have no idea. Especially if you are young.
I've worked with our local food bank several times over the years and they do a great job. I just feel like it doesn't have to end there. BUT regarding my post above, I do prioritize my family. If we are jumping and scrounging to pay the bills I don't give away money no matter how much I might feel like I should. And I'm not judging anyone else's choices. I only worry about mine.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
I don't give much to homeless either. In our nice weather, there are dozens around even though out town has made it illegal for us to hand them anything. I saw a nice man come out with a egg muffin and a coffee from a C store, and hand it to a person on the corner (with a sign begging). The person refused it. So the man set it on the exterior trash can lid, perhaps for someone else to pick up. Sad.
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