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Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Slavophile] #335970 10/28/09 12:45 AM
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dochawk Offline
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I ran across a graduate student's conundrum a few years ago. For background, he went out in grubby clothes and stood on a street corner. He ended up going to his advisor, perplexed, asking what he was supposed to do with the hundreds of dollars that had been given to him.

We definitely have professionals here, including one guy by the airport with a "Why lie? I need a beer." sign that has been there for over a decade. I've heard that he has a bmw around the corner.

There are plenty of horror stories, and few success story. The next person I meed who has managed to hire a "Will work for food" will be the first; the folks I've known who've tried got cussed out with demands for money.

I'm planning on putting some bags together to keep in the car with fresh fruit and dried fruit & nuts to hand out. No doubt several will be thrown back at me, but the hungry will eat and I wont' be buy wine & drugs for the dependent.

hawk

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: dochawk] #335974 10/28/09 01:45 AM
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Philippe Gebara Offline
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Just today entered in twice classrooms of mine a supposed aidetic guy asking for money for a medicine, I think (I didn't understand well what he said). And it isn't a rare situation in the public universities (where enter everyone who want)... I've already witnessed it one more time.

And here it's very common to reasonably well dressed people to ask money alleging they had lost their money and need to go back home.

What do in both cases?

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Philippe Gebara] #335979 10/28/09 03:47 AM
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Amadeus Offline
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Professional begging then is a worldwide phenomenon (being a good business at that!grin)

It takes a good eye to spot the poor and truly needy, and varied examples have been given.

Amado




Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Amadeus] #335980 10/28/09 03:57 AM
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I think its best just to give to those who ask, and let the Lord sort out the ones with evil intentions.

Though one should give what you can carefully. Exposing your wallet directly to them might end up getting one robbed... Offering to buy food is probably a good way to do it.

Last edited by GMmcnabb; 10/28/09 03:58 AM.
Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Philippe Gebara] #335999 10/28/09 01:47 PM
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Wa taken by that once myself. A man dressed as a business man showed up at the door driving a lexsus said he lost his money on the way home, offered to send it and asked only for 10 dollars to get some gas. Never saw it again and found out he did the same thing in the next town down the road.
Stephanos I

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Stephanos I] #336001 10/28/09 02:21 PM
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David Y Offline
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Never easy to decide what to do. Visiting Chicago last summer with my then 11 year old son, 7 year old daughter and pregnant wife we ran across multiple people begging in the subway/transit system. We were trying to decide how to teach my children to recognize the face of the poor and help those in need. I also wanted to teach about using caution when approached by anyone when you are in unfamiliar surroundings. I can only say that we gave something to those who asked. If we did the right thing or perpetuated something insincere -- I can't say.

Last edited by David Y; 10/28/09 02:22 PM.
Re: Giving to beggars [Re: jkay] #336010 10/28/09 04:22 PM
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I give them money.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't think it's fair to say that most beggars are mentally ill or addicts. Even for the ones that are addicted, it's impossible to tell whether their addiction is the cause of their homelessness or if it is the product of their homelessness (there are plenty of addicts who maintain high-paying jobs, so it doesn't follow that all addicts would have homes if they just got sober). They could be victims of the economy or victims of horrible households with no family to support them. I think our pre-conceived notions about beggars color our decisions about whether to give them money more than reality does.

Yes, there are rackets, but how can you tell? Sure, I may be naïve, but I just let God sort it out. I won’t be judged because of my ignorance, but my inaction to respond to pretty obvious need.

I would never hand out McDonald’s cards though. They are already homeless, they don’t need to be poisoned too (studies show that lower-income people have more health complications and die sooner because of lack of nutritious food available – see the movie “Unnatural Causes”).

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: DoxRox] #336017 10/28/09 06:03 PM
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Quote
Contrary to popular belief, I don't think it's fair to say that most beggars are mentally ill or addicts.

Numerous studies have been conducted by all sorts of organizations, public and private, conservative and liberal. All come out with roughly the same conclusion: that somewhere around two thirds of all the homeless are mentally ill, and that many more suffer from some sort of addiction--though there is overlap between the mentally ill and the addicted). The number of homeless people who are homeless because of some financial or personal misfortune alone is relatively small, and most of them are only transiently homeless; i.e., they find permanent places to live in relatively short order.

The chronically homeless, who live permanently on the street, are in need of much more than a handout. Most need to be taken off the street and treated for their afflictions, which, however, is extremely difficult to do thanks to the civil liberties lobby that places the autonomy of the homeless over their physical and mental well being.

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: StuartK] #336057 10/29/09 01:45 AM
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Without knowing how the studies were conducted (for example, was there a sample bias?), I can't speak to that with absolute certainty, but I do know that stats mean very little in the streets, which is my ultimate point. And as I said, when we encounter people who are mentally ill or addicts, sometimes our minds automatically think that's the cause, so they need to just get away for that junk and they'll be A-OK -- so somehow giving them money is enabling their situation. I won't say that I'm doing my Christian duty very well, but I'll just stay from my experience, not alot of people are the...social parasites people may think them to be.

Check into the social welfare systems in your city. I know in mine, there are plenty of organizations that want to do more than provide a bed to sleep at night, but to encourage the people to thrive (physically, mentally, and socially), and sometimes this goes very well. The problem is, as always, the human factor--they are free-thinkers so we can't herd them around like cattle. Whether the people are in the "right place in life" (as they say) to even receive such assistance is an open question with each individual. In addition to free will, resources and financial difficulties (or just plain lack of initiative) can get in the way in those types of programs. We could make it federal, but no one wants to pay more taxes. And on and on and on we go.

One more thing: someone mentioned donating to shelters and not people. Not that I’m discouraging donating to shelters (please do! you might be the way their prayers are answered!) but I know for my city, the homeless are out on the street between meals, and not all of them can get in (due to their gender, whether or not they have children, or simply not being able to keep up with the time). And there’s not a lot of places that accommodate them in the in between time, especially if they don’t buy anything.

Like I said, I can’t speak to the stats directly. I’ll assume their true. Even so, it’s not like we have the poverty situation pegged enough to say “I definitely don’t give money to anyone.” I suppose my view is just as extreme, but from where I’m sitting, mine is the lesser folly.

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Philippe Gebara] #336064 10/29/09 03:16 AM
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This is Las Vegas--we have people who actually did get stranded . . . but they don't tend to be the same people as those with the with signs frown The ones with signs always seem to have been stranded at the same intersection for months . . .

The homeless problem was largely (not entirely) created by the deinstitutionalization of the '70s. People had a "right" to get out of the system and be freed from their meds so that they could wander around and freeze to death . . . and somehow it impinges on their rights to be forced into treatment that allows them to function rather than wander the streets . . . [insert smilie of head banging against wall here]

hawk


Re: Giving to beggars [Re: StuartK] #336073 10/29/09 05:29 AM
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The funny thing is that in Europe you can even find beggars who speak English. I remember last year in Frankfurt I was walking and a man approached asking for money in German. I answered him I didn't speak German and he then said in English "I need money because I have a problem...". All i could do is laugh.

As in the USA, in other countries there are some associations who try to help people in the streets by providing them shelter. Not long ago the local government in Mexico City and some charitable organizations funded a project that would enable beggars to have their own common houses so that they wouldn't have to beg in the streets (the government wanted to improve the public image of the city). However, the project failed: the beggars escaped from those houses, they refused shelter and prefered to stay in the streets because it frankly makes money.

It's my personal belief that the State should punish those who beg in the streets and do so without a serious reason.

Now that you mentioned Romania, I did see some beggars in Iasi, mostly gypsies. They usually realize you're a foreigner so they don't come to ask you for money. The water was ok, I can't complain. The meat is indeed repugnant (it has tendons and white stuff), I didn't eat it.

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Mexican] #336169 10/31/09 09:29 AM
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I live in a city with lots of homeless and some are fakes,but many are people,including families, that fell through the cracks,addicts, and mentally ill. It can be hard deciding what to do but it isn't good to become too cynical and decide they're all lazy bums,because it hardens the heart and that's never good spiritually.

If I give money I have already have a set amount in my pocket and don't open my purse.I've gotten food for people, and I agree that McDonalds's isn't healthy, but it's better than passing out from hunger. At the very least I'll pray for everyone I see.

It's not my job to judge anybody as to why they're homeless. My mother works for social services and you'd be surprised by how easy it is to end up on the street. Also, shelters are sometimes more dangerous than the streets because there's no seperation between the dangerously mentally ill and the rest of the population, whereas on the street they can put distance between themselves and a dangerous person.

Last edited by indigo; 10/31/09 09:30 AM.
Re: Giving to beggars [Re: indigo] #336170 10/31/09 10:46 AM
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Dear Indigo,

That is a beautiful, beautiful post.

God bless,
Alice

Re: Giving to beggars [Re: Alice] #336188 10/31/09 03:30 PM
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This is from the Baptist preacher,whose congregation purchased our old church building in Detroit:The Reverend related that he was walking down the street when a man approached him and said,"Reverend---,could you spare four dollars,so that I could b uy myself something to eat at MacDonalds?"The preacher answered,"Let me take you to MacDonalds myself and buy you something,four dollars might not be enough." They started off, but at somepoint the poor man said,"I can't lie to you,Reverend," and ran away.

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