Monday, May 10, 2010

Panhanders, beggars, bums, homeless people, and hobos

 Photo courtesy of City of Easton

I know this doesn't have a lot to do with The Compact, but I couldn't resist.

This is a hot topic and one I've been thinking about writing for a few weeks.  Lately Spokane Valley has become a haven for panhandling.  Just on my way home from the grocery store (1.5 miles away) I saw 2.  This was at 9am.  Most of them don't get out until 10ish.  The largest intersection near our house usually has at least 2 people begging.  When you get off the freeway, there will be 1.  When you get on the freeway, there will be 1.  When you go near Wal-mart there will be 1, maybe 2.  I cannot stand seeing all of this begging.

Recently a local Spokane Valley man, John Fisher, took matters into his own hands and started hanging out where the panhandlers were and had a sign that read "Stop the Panhandlers, Keep Your Change."  Here is his story.

A local news anchor also did a story on panhandling when he tried it out himself for a few days.  Watch the video here

Dave and I had a long conversation about it on the way home from dinner last night.  I kept asking why people gave to these beggars.  He said it was likely because they felt guilty.  Maybe they hadn't been to church in a while to tithe, maybe they hadn't chipped in for a co-worker's birthday gift, etc etc.  We all carry around our own guilt.  It's certainly a motivator to do things you may not normally do.  People need to stop and think of the consequences of their actions.  Giving a drug addict or an alcoholic cash is the worst thing you can do for them.  If you truly want to help those who need it, then I suggest donating cash, food or your time to your local shelter, food bank, or community center.  If you get into the habit of donating to a worthy cause monthly then your guilt about "not giving" will likely fall away.

So, what are your views on panhandling?  Do you give?  If so, why?


  1. If they have a sign indicating that they "need money for food" or something like that, I may give them food, but I do not give money directly to people. I only give money to groups that I know will feed and care for people (such as shelters or red cross etc).

  2. I give to animal shelters. I would rather see an innocent animal survive than a drug addict get money to overdose.

  3. I don't give money either. Occasionally I will give food to someone if they look like they really need it. Ive heard of too many horror stories about giving to panhandlers to give them anything. If anything I usually lock my doors if any is nearby (I know that sounds horrible but my dad had one try to open his door and take his wallet when he stopped to give him enough money for some food).