Giving $ to those with "homeless/hungry" signs — The Bump
Stay at Home Moms

Giving $ to those with "homeless/hungry" signs

What's your take on giving money to someone you see holding a sign like this? Or do you ever see them?

I never used to where we just moved from, but now where I travel to for Dr. appts. I have seen it twice so far while stopped at lights.  The first time I think the guy's sign said "Homeless and hungry, please help."  I had no cash (I usually don't) but I felt bad, even though I wasn't sure what I would have done if I did. I didn't see anyone else give him anything.

Then today I saw another while stopped at a light.  He was right next to my car when I stopped and I honestly didn't even notice right away.  I had a $5 bill and thought about giving it to him but I couldn't catch his eye because he was holding the sign (it said he was homeless, hungry and a Vet) in front of his face and smoking behind it.  I think I would have given him the money but I did feel awkward because it's just not a situation I've really been in before.

How do you feel about people holding signs like this? Do you "believe" them, do you give them money, keep driving...?  I'm just curious. I felt really strange and wasn't sure what to do, really.

DS (7 years old) from FET in 2010
DD (5 years old) from IUI in 2012
TTC 3rd and final!: IUI #1 in progress!

Re: Giving $ to those with "homeless/hungry" signs

  • I can go either way depending on my mood. I live in a small neighborhood and there are a few regulars I see, I usually chat with one lady and give her a toonie, and if someone is playing music I sometimes will stop with the baby to listen and give them some coins. When I'm in the car, I do usually give a $5. I just feel guilty driving a nice car and I hope a little bit can help.

    But other days, if money is tight, I feel like we have lots of debt and student loans and my family comes first, and it annoys me a lot when I see them smoking, and I wonder what the money will actually go toward and I'd rather give my donations to a trustworthy organization. So I guess it really depends on the day, for me. 

    I'm surprised you haven't seen it more? I think it's sweet that you are still thinking about it. I think it is important to feel compassion like you are, and to respect these people's humanity, it must be hard to have to ask for money like that. Anyway those are my thoughts, disorganized as they are! 

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  • I usually give a dollar or two when I can. Earlier this week there were two people on my way home. I had the money for a woman, but she was too far down for me to catch her eye. The second time the light changed.

    I know sometimes it's a scam, but I'd rather lose a couple of dollars to a scammer than someone go hungry (or worse, decide to resort to robbery).

    When DH and I were living in China, we saw a lot of beggars and it was always tough deciding whether or not to give them anything. While some were definitely in need--or in the case of one young girl, owned by a gang and forced to beg--there were many who were professional beggars and not in need at all.

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  • I'll give food if I have some on hand. Example, H & I a few months ago had half a pizza in the car on our way home & gave it. If they are 'hungry' that's what they need. Money to me = scam. Which is not necessarily true for all, but that's how I feel. 
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  • Ehhhh, I always give them money if I have cash on me. 

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  • I used to, but a couple of things happened that turned me off of the whole thing. First, I went and bought some people some food and brought it back. They actually got mad that I didn't give money. Ummm...if you say you're hungry you better accept the food somebody gives you.

    Then, a couple of years ago there was a man who was killed when he was panhandling. He stepped out in front of a car to pick up some money somebody dropped for him when the light changed. Anyway, it came out later that he wasn't homeless, just jobless. He had an apartment and a car which he had parked around the corner from where he was hit. Then the newspaper did a little digging and it turns out that half the people {"regulars"} in our town aren't homeless. So anyway, long story not so short, I don't give money to individuals anymore. But I do donate to shelters and other programs that are designed to get people back on their feet/provide for them. 

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  • The last time I did was almost a year ago. DH told me it was a scam and that I shouldn't give them any money. I thought about it and think he was right. (Don't tell him I said that lol) We have tons of homeless shelters and soup kitchens where I live by churches. So they do have somewhere to go and food to eat. I do feel bad when I drive by somebody though. but they always do make me nervous now that I have DS with me.
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  • I don't give cash but I do give food. I keep a box of snacks in the front of the van for my LOs (granola bars, raisins, crackers, etc.) and I have bottled water in a crate behind the passenger seat. I often will grab food and water and offer that to them. It's not much, but at least it's something.
  • I never give money, but I will give food if they are near a grocery store.  I live in the Bay Area and get asked three times for money, once for directions, and once to sign a petition of some type on average walking home EVERY day.  It gets really old and I am to the point where I have just started ignoring all people who try and talk to me on the street.
  • We've had a lot of news stories here as well when they followed all of the people working a few different corners here to find an extreme level of fraud/dishonesty (they weren't able to find even one legit homeless person carrying one of the signs).  The best was some college kid wearing a rather expensive brand of jacket, shoes, glasses, and the haircut was definitely a $60+ cut and not the Fantastic Sam's... 

    While we are rather generous helping out when we know someone in true need, I won't give money to the person at the street corner with the sign. 

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  • My sister will go buy a bag if groceries if someone is asking for that, which I would love to do.

    I have given snacks we had on our car and once my MIL and I bought Subway for a couple of boys who were trying to travel to family.

    As for cash, I rarely have it to give. Plus you don't know who is scamming and who isn't. I do feel bad too when I see them. Its nice of you to want to help them.
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  • I don't give money.  Like a pp stated I don't feel comfortable taking out my wallet in front of them, especially when I am alone with my kids.  Plus, I tried giving food to a man with a sign saying he was hungry once (I went to the pizza place next door and ordered a pizza for him) and it was snubbed.  I give in other ways.     
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  • I were those all the time. Especially around the mall. I haven't given any money recently but I used to buy coffeeor mMcDonalds for them. When I was younger it was Christmas eve and I was with my dad and there was a homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk and my dad got out of the car and gave him his coat.
  • I see several a day.  I never give them anything.  99.9% of the time they are using any money they get to feed an addiction. 
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  • Our town actually just made panhandling illegal.  It was getting so bad to always have guys at the off ramp.  I never look at them, let alone take $$ out.

  • The only time I gave out cash is while I was tipsy....

    It sounds horrible but I always feel like it's a scam. I agree with the poster who mentioned devoting time to help them or I would give cash to legit charities that help out homeless. Or I would even think adopting a family like another poster does on here would be a great idea. But just giving out cash randomly makes me doubt what they truly want.

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  • Usually, I don't. First, I never know who's legit and who's not, and also, I feel like it's putting a band-aid on a bigger problem. I give money to the Salvation Army, and food to food banks, and we adopted a family through our county's dept. of human services this year, so it's not that I don't care. I'd just rather see our money go to a reputable organization that can help on a greater scale than giving $5 to an individual would.

    I do give money occasionally, though, if it's very clear to me that the person is in need. Some people, you can just tell. And in that case, I don't even care if what I give goes toward booze or cigarettes. When you're living in a lean-to you've rigged up between a few scrubby trees growing near an off-ramp, you deserve any comfort you can get, IMO. 


  • I do not give money to those who stand out holding signs. Sometimes, DH and I will go get a burger for them. Since I can't be sure what they will use cash for, I feel more comfortable providing something like food.
  • I always give if I have cash or food and it's safe to stop (like the light hasn't changed).  I assume that if they are asking for money that they need it.  Have I given to people that didn't need it?  Maybe, but that's on their conscience not mine.
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  • I always think about what an awful situation I would have to be in before I would beg for money on the side of the road, that I just melt and feel so bad for these people. Anyone who would rather beg for money in the cold than get a job is obviously dealing with some mental issues and therefore "needs" the money, IMO.

     I'm such a bleeding heart that if I don't give something, I come home and feel guilty about any luxuries I have. Before my town banned it, DH started keeping food in the car to hand out to them because I would get so worked up if I didn't have cash or food with me. Maybe they're trying to scam me, but I'd rather give money to people who don't need it and get to help someone who really does than drive away from someone who truly needs help because they might be lying.

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  • No, I never give money on the street. I have volunteered at food banks and have several friends that are police officers and all have said that anyone truly hungry will seek out a food bank, soup kitchen or sign up for emergency food services. The people pan handling on the street almost always have drug addictions and this is how they support the habit. They are not proud of having to do this, but the addiction has grabbed a hold of them and they cannot find a way to overcome it and they have to pan handle to get money to buy drugs because they cannot really hold down a permanent job.

    Several cities here in Tampa Bay have passed no/restricted panhandling laws (they can only do it on Sunday) and our area treatment centers have seen a huge increase in people going into rehab. Basically since they can't panhandle anymore they are forced to go into treatment because the withdrawal is so horrible and they no longer have the money to buy drugs. Reading about this in our local news has supported my decision to not give out money on the street. Instead I donate to our local food bank every month and give money and adult clothing to our local homeless shelter. They have set up programs to try to get the needy into jobs and housing so they are not living on the streets anymore. I am very happy knowing my money and food is going towards people that truly need to be fed or housed. 

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  • I am such a sucker. I usually give them food though if I can and not money.

    I was walking to my car after leaving a store one day when a young man asked me if I had any spare money. I hesitated because DH always lectures me on just giving money, but I gave him the $2 that I had in my wallet. As I was driving away, I saw the guy come out of McDonald's across the street and hand a bag to a young woman sitting on the curb with a little boy. I was really, really, glad that I had given him the money because if I hadn't, would that little boy have gotten any lunch?

    Another time I was walking into a grocery store two women approached me with a picture of a little girl saying she had died of cancer and they were trying to help their sister give her a funeral. It totally broke my heart thinking that if something were to happen to DS at least I could give him a proper funeral/burial. I gave them $5 and wished them luck. And a few weeks later I saw a news story about a scam involving people asking for money for a little girl's funeral and they flashed their pictures on the screen. Made me so angry!

     


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  • image nowababy:
    image regenab:

    No, I never give money on the street. I have volunteered at food banks and have several friends that are police officers and all have said that anyone truly hungry will seek out a food bank, soup kitchen or sign up for emergency food services. The people pan handling on the street almost always have drug addictions and this is how they support the habit. They are not proud of having to do this, but the addiction has grabbed a hold of them and they cannot find a way to overcome it and they have to pan handle to get money to buy drugs because they cannot really hold down a permanent job.

    Several cities here in Tampa Bay have passed no/restricted panhandling laws (they can only do it on Sunday) and our area treatment centers have seen a huge increase in people going into rehab. Basically since they can't panhandle anymore they are forced to go into treatment because the withdrawal is so horrible and they no longer have the money to buy drugs. Reading about this in our local news has supported my decision to not give out money on the street. Instead I donate to our local food bank every month and give money and adult clothing to our local homeless shelter. They have set up programs to try to get the needy into jobs and housing so they are not living on the streets anymore. I am very happy knowing my money and food is going towards people that truly need to be fed or housed. 

    Sorry but I don't buy this. I'm not saying that you should give money to folks on the street. But the rationale behind it I don't buy. I highly doubt that people will end up in treatment because they can't ask for money. The system just doesn't work that well. Those anti-panhandling laws are just to get poor/homeless people off the streets not for their sake, but to make the city look better/cleaner/nicer etc.


    Also, a huge number of homeless people have mental health issues and often have been so failed by the system that they end up on the street. Especially schizophrenics. 


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  • I'm in agreement with most of the rest of you.  I won't give out money because I can't trust that the people I'm giving to actually need it.

    Besides, there are programs in place for people who are down on their luck.  Shelters, food banks, social housing, etc.  I know it's not a perfect system, but it's in place for a reason.  

    I figure that by handing $ out to people begging, I'm just encouraging their behaviour.  Still, it always make me so sad to see anyone who appears to be homeless and/or hungry! 

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  • "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"

    That's what some of the answers here remind me of.


     

     

     

     

  • I'm an addictions specialist and a lot of my clients do what they call "signing" (makes it sound better I guess than panhandling which is what it is).  I know where the $$ they get goes--and it's not for food, shelter or clothes (of which they have all 3 and even a vehicle).  So no, I do not give money to panhandlers. One client has bragged about making hundreds of dollars a day.  It disgusts me cuz those giving the money are doing it out of kindness/generosity and he is just using them;  this particular client even had other clients "working" for him.  It was ridiculous.  

    Are there legitimately homeless/hungry people panhandling--most definitely and it's too bad that those who really need it get associated with those who have taken advantage of the kindness of others.

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  • I don't carry cash, but my general rule is that they probably don't "need" MY money, however they might and who am I to decide?

    However, I don't carry cash.... 

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