What should I do about panhandlers?

Scroll down to content

[This is from February and not posted for some reason I have since forgot.]

My thoughts and feelings about panhandlers have shifted over time. When I was your age, I never had any money anyway, so the question of handing out money was outside of consideration.

A couple of times when I felt physically threatened and was trying to just get out of the situation, I just handed over some cash. Another time, a woman stopped me in a drive-thru when I had cash in hand and offered to sing me a song if I gave her a dollar. I would have given her five bucks for her smile and the perfection of her craft.

Most of the time, all I offered them was a thousand-yard stare or, if pressed, I would question them, challenging their statements. Where is your baby? How old is your baby? Really?

Good grief!! Who made me the homeless police anyway?

This morning, I was stopped by a young man who was obviously in some chronic distress. He had a bruise under one of his bleary eyes and a timid and polite approach. It was cold and windy. I had a dollar in my hand at the time, so he was clearly paying attention to where he was. If I had to, I would panhandle at a Starbucks too, I bet.

I gave him the dollar, but I felt an urge to do more. I wanted to have a place to direct him to get out of the weather, but I had no idea where he should go–not one.

When I left, he was still outside, huddled out of sight of the store’s employees, asking softly for change from anyone who passed. I handed him a sandwich and told him to take care of himself.

That’s the difference between what I used to do and what I do now. It’s tiny, but I have to believe that handing someone a bottle of water or a little food or showing some minor humanity is better than trying to pretend they don’t exist.

I am still trying to find out if there’s a cold-weather shelter or non-emergency assistance line to call for these folks.

It’s easy to report a crime or a stray animal, but not a stray person.

We should fix that.




Waddaya think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Old Stone Houses

A pinch of inspiration and interesting facts about stone homes of the past


blowing through the cobwebs of my mind


Three Guys' Analytical Glance into the Political and Cultural Conundrum


A stay at home mothers guide to self discovery


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Ben's Bitter Blog

"We make bitter better."

Faraday's Candle

It's an amazing world of science...let's go exploring!

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

cracked rear viewer

Fresh takes on retro pop culture

Thinking of Now

Mindful writing about experiences with meditation, nature, parenting ... Life!

%d bloggers like this: