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2 Bumps

Beg for money or food?

In todays depressed economy I have seen an increased number of people standing on corners asking for "help" money, work, food shelter etc. I know I cannot be the only one to have seen this kind of thing going on.

To that end, what is your initial gut reaction when you see a person holding a cardboard sign "will work for food" "please help, homeless"?

Is you reaction the same if it is an old man who is dirty and by himself, or a couple standing there with a child? What do you do?

I saw a couple the other day standing in the heat, with a toddler in a tore me up...but then a voice said "they have time to stand there, but no time to have at least one of them looking for work...or don't they qualify for assistance?

What do you think of these people and what do you do?

Answer Question

Asked by salexander at 11:22 AM on Aug. 25, 2010 in Just for Fun

Level 26 (28,366 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • I live in a small town now so I don't see much of that. If we did I think my husband would offer them some work to do in exchange for food. It would be interesting to offer them some hard work and see what their response is. I have seen many situations where people just get angry if you suggest a job for them to do or offer food instead of cash. IMO, if you are in need you should be willing to do some work and you would be grateful for the food!

    Answer by micheledo at 11:26 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • i actually have not seen an increase in people standing on corners asking for hand-outs, but we also have a very good shelter here in town and several food banks and charities so people don't have to resort to begging on street corners, there are resources available and very charitable people, In our town at least. I would think the same things as you if it was a couple with a toddler begging on a street corner, there ARE programs available. If its an old man alone i usually feel really bad for them because chances are they are a war veteran and cannot keep a job or they are an alcoholic or drug addict who wasted away any money they had on their addiction. i do not normally give them $$ though, but if we CAN afford it i would give them some food or somethin...

    Answer by DreainCO at 11:28 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • I agree that it's a bit odd that both of them are there saying they can't find work. Well, no, you sure won't find a job on a street corner. They're probably on assistance and are looking for money for drugs. But there are people who do need help and aren't getting it from the government. Myself, if they say they're hungry then I'd go buy them food. There are so many churches that have food banks now as well but some people won't go there. They think because they don't attend that church that they won't help them. I know how they feel. When I was 18 I lived on the street for a few days. It was in March. I slept in doorways until someone let me sleep at their place during the day although I couldn't eat any of their food. They didn't have enough for themselves. I still spent every night outside, though. I didn't know about churches offering help. I didn't know where any shelters were. It was hard.

    Answer by L.A.F.outloud at 11:32 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • I've been homeless and not had food. I'm disabled and can't work. The unemployment rate is so high people can't get jobs. Where one of my sons lives the unemployment rate is 30%. Thinking people should just go out and get a job is unrealistic.

    I've been homeless 3 times. The one time I didn't eat enough or sleep that I ended up in the hospital. I wouldn't beg. I would sleep during the day in a lawn chair in a park across from the hospital and near a fire station. I had a service dog so I felt safe. One day one of my sons found me at the park barely alive. I have several serious medical conditions including asthma and it was really hot. My teenage son that was homeless with me had a part time min wage job but we had to pay for gas, our camping spot, and save for the section 8 apt we were waiting for.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:32 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • We live in Tucson now and it one of the cities in the US with the most homeless. It isn't Mexicans, it's Anglos. There are people begging everywhere. There is a really good outreach program that has meals, food, gives away clothes, ect. They have a thrift store. I shop there and donate things there. If I had money I would donate there.

    There is a park where like 100 homeless people sleep during the day. It's sad. On Craigslist there has been ads for people needing food for their dogs or someone to care for their dog or cat until they get back on their feet. People will help these people.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:38 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • Well first instinct is look for work, but then I think to myself, what if they don't have the reasources to do so. What if they can't read well enough, or don't have a diploma. Life is never easy as it seems. There is such a fine line for me between helping and suspicion. I don't like to give money as a lot of people doing this are addicts...I refuse to help someone kill themselves with drugs etc, by giving money for that purpose. I agree with the post above...there are programs, shelters etc, so I find it hard to believe these people have only a street corner as an option. I wish I could just give and know that the help I do give is actually helping, not contributing to an existing problem. As for the couple with the child...I would never do that, I would leave the baby at home or with a friend. I suspect they feel a child will get more sympathy. My child would be in a shelter somewhere, not on a corner in the heat.

    Comment by salexander (original poster) at 11:38 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • You're largely correct - they're often caught up in the victim mentality that says "take care of me" instead of getting out and doing something active to fix their situation. There are resources such as food banks that can help, and programs available - and it's terribly dangerous to stand and beg on the street. It's also terribly dangerous to invite these people to come to work for you in exchange for food - they are an unknown and while they may be perfectly nice people, there is a reason we don't just leave our homes unlocked and our children wandering the streets - personal safety is of utmost concern.

    Answer by justnancyb at 11:38 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • Where I live many of the homeless out here are drug addicted. One time I was at McDonalds and a man walked up and said he washungry,can I givehim money for food. I don't usually carry cash but I offered to let him order whatever he wanted and I would pick up the tag. He told me he doesn't eat McDonalds he wants chinese food. I told him that he mustn't be that hungry and walked away.

    Answer by reigndrops12689 at 11:40 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • OP, you stated "what if they can't read well enough or don't have a diploma", and this might be very true. But there's a personal responsibility element in that too. If they can't read well enough, shouldn't they be improving their own skill set as opposed to standing on a street corner? If they have time to stand on a corner, they have time to learn to read or get a GED.
    It's an example of victim mentality that an earlier poster mentioned. It can be a lack of any real motivation.

    Answer by Gaccck at 11:45 AM on Aug. 25, 2010

  • I'm always torn. Not knowing what their situation is it's hard for me to know how to respond. I don't want to assume that they are capable of work or that they haven't been trying to find work. I have been stopped several times in parking lots before and been asked for money for bus tickets or even diapers for a baby. I don't give anybody money. When a girl once asked if I had any money for diapers with her baby in tow, I offered to drive home (2 blocks) and bring a package of diapers and some other baby items that I already had for my own son. She insisted she didn't have time to wait for me. I told her it was the best that I could do for her. I still went home and put some things together but she was gone before I got back.

    I tend to get the same answer every time. It's money or nothing and if those are my only two choices then my response will always be nothing. I want to help but can only do so if they let me.

    Answer by sillyt at 12:08 PM on Aug. 25, 2010

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