Do you give a coin to every beggar you meet?

Ninjas killed my fatherI have a friend who does. I think he does it also when I am not around to see.

But I am not like that. I usually pick only those most obvious in need. My thoughts and emotions are often mixed.

Sometimes I see beggars who were recruited to be beggars and have their managers taking share of their profits. That gets me really mad. It makes it difficult to recognize 'genuine' beggars.

Sometimes you just don't have enough coins.

Is it a just justification? Should you always have enough coins?

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  1. gelan
    Jan 22nd, 2010 4:38 PM

    I see we better give money to organization that works on remedying the root cause of homelessness. It's difficult to recognize genuine beggars. it's possible they are playing on our sympathy

  2. Tibu.
    Sep 24th, 2009 1:07 PM

    Well, today I went to the shop and one old lady was sitting there and asking from everyone, please give me little bit .... I passed her because I needed to go and buy b-day gift. But I wanted to give her money, so after buying what I had to, I looked how much money I had, (also I had to keep exact amount of money for train ticket) and I had only very little money left. So instead of giving this to her, I bought two baked rolls, and then gave it to her. She was very happy and said thank you, and that she will eat them now.
    I was also happy. I think giving food instead of money is better, because then you are sure that this person needed it,..

  3. Sep 22nd, 2009 10:32 PM

    I was just in Vancouver, BC and would have had a hard time giving money to every person I saw with sign. Still, I managed to hand out $10 to multiple people (and even made a trek back to a woman after I found a $2 that I couldn't find when I'd started digging for change).

  4. doomed
    Sep 13th, 2009 4:26 PM

    I think the best way to get an answer if they are poor and needy is if they ask for money, say no but offer to buy them a meal or give them some food. Someone in desperate need of food won't turn it down and will thank you, but someone scamming or needing alcohol or drugs will continue to attempt to get money from you or will tell you it doesn't matter. there are professional beggars out there who aren't poor and broke but will dress up like bums and sit on the street collecting money.

    But yeah, never hand over money give them a feed, and then tell them to try a little thing called welfare/social security if your country has an unemployment benefits scheme.

    Heard a saying: Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for life.
    Luckily if I ever become homeless I know how to hunt fish and trap.I also know how to plant a seed.
    Unless you are mentally ill there isalways a way to survive without hand outs.

  5. Sep 11th, 2009 2:06 PM

    I prefer not to be so hard-hearted with those who live here. This is a rural farming area, rich in natural resources, not so rich in jobs. The same families have lived here, for the most part, since the 1780s. It all depends on what's in your heart. Mine is not made of stone. I would have been in bad shape a couple of times in life had others not had charity in their heart. What goes around, comes around. I consider it a privilege to help those less fortunate than me, an "opportunity" to make the world just a little brighter. To each his own.

  6. Sep 10th, 2009 5:43 AM

    I live in a rural area in a very small town. While there aren't beggars here, there are a lot of poor people. So what I do instead is - if I see someone at the grocery store who is putting food back because it cost too much when they check out (not junk food, actual food, hahaha), I tell the cashier that one's on me and I make up the difference so they can have the food they wanted. Feels good to be kind.

    • Sep 10th, 2009 7:57 AM

      That's a very good way to handle it.

      • Sep 16th, 2009 12:47 AM

        thanks, i thought you might like it ;-) also handily eliminates problem of giving out $ that might just go for alcohol.although i suppose that a clever person who bought potatoes and sugar might be able to think of a thing or two to make with those ingredients, hahaha.

  7. Sep 9th, 2009 3:52 AM

    I used to but have been burned a couple of times. One guy flagged me down as I was getting into my car, said he needed a lift to a place where he could sleep for the night and he had to be there in 10 minutes or it would shut and he would be out on the street for the night. I relented and let him in, more fool me. All the way he just tried to get money out of me to pay (so he said) for a hotel for the night. The place that was going to close in 10 minutes never materialised, he couldn't give me directions. I ended up giving him my well wishes and prayers but no money. I felt bad for a while, until I worked out it was all planned from the beginning and I was a sucker!

  8. John C
    Aug 29th, 2009 5:06 PM

    Mixed emotions, that sums my thoughts up well.

    It seems to depend on where you are in the world - some countries it is like a business and others, quite genuine.

    I rarely have change, but I never turn the other way. I can't stand it when people totally blank the homeless. We have no idea how or why they are having to do this, so even those days that we don't have enough change, being polite and courteous does mean quite a lot to homeless people... and a few bucks for a cup of joe, if genuine, does mean a lot!

  9. Aug 29th, 2009 4:10 PM

    I never do. Out here in India, begging is a racket.

  10. Aug 29th, 2009 1:19 PM

    While I know not everyone has the same mandate, we who are Christians are called to "give to whoever asks of us." Without qualification, notice. I know that many who are asking on the street are going to spend the money on alcohol or drugs, but- we are still asked to give.

    Not practical for the non-Christian, I know. So, here's a few other thoughts:

    -Addicts will find a way to get the money they need to feed their addiction. I'm not funding something that would shrivel up and die if I stopped funding it. I'm (possibly) stopping someone else from being robbed.

    -When you or I are in pain, sick, depressed, or whatever we are free to have a glass of wine, or get a prescription to Prozac, or watch TV for 5 hours, or go on vacation, or spend the day in our nice warm bed. When people talk about not giving money to the homeless because of drugs, they always make noises as if they are thinking about the homeless persons best interest. But there is always a sharp edge of judgement. How can I judge the desperate actions of someone who does not have access to all those things I just mentioned? Who am I to say that the booze isn't the only thing that gets them through the day?

    -Most people who say, "Giving food is better" don't do that either. Next time someone asks you for money, offer to take them to a restaurant. And if they accept, eat with them. You'll be glad you did.

    -Some people mistake the discomfort and revulsion they feel when seeing a homeless person with feelings of guilt and shame. Are you uncomfortable because they look/smell/sound bad? Or are you guilty for not doing enough to help? It's not a big point, but it is good to know whether your feelings are ultimately about compassion or about self-interest. Either way, if you actually care, or feel called to care, spend some time with the homeless. Go to shelters and soup kitchens. Get to know them. You'll find your "their mostly addicts" prejudices start to slip away.

  11. Aug 29th, 2009 8:54 AM

    In my opinion we should always have some money reserved for beggars in our pocket. Like a separate 10$ always on me for beggars. When I see someone who is really in need, I should give them to him/her and put another 10$ for next time.

    • Roger
      Sep 15th, 2009 11:37 AM

      10$ you mean 10US$ ? I wonder if u live in the States. For me it seems that 10US$ (about 7 Euros) is quite a lot if you plan to give it regularly when beggars approach. I thought half of it wouldn't be bad already.
      But maybe in the USA, this is very small money...

      • Sep 15th, 2009 4:28 PM

        Yes, $10 USD is quite a lot. The person would really have to be in need or Jawad is rich.

        However I am with curious (hum there are no numbers here, hard to reference posts) that it's a nuisance. Those people need to get a job instead.

  12. Aug 29th, 2009 1:45 AM

    Nice light post and I have to come around and mess it up with my heavy rant... my apologies in advance. :)

    In my experience, the vast vast majority of people begging have substance abuse problems (even the ones that don't look like they have a problem, they're just newer to the street), at least in California.....It's the rule not the exception.

    That means that if you give them money, it goes directly to a drug dealer and funds that part of the black market food chain, violence, guns, etc. .....not good, at least that's how it works here in LA. Many street addicts are sustained year after year by pan handling.....

    Family members of addicts often sustain and enable their loved ones addictions for years upon years with the best of intentions by buying booze or drugs for the addict with the intention of protecting the addict from the dangers they would incur trying to score, drive, get money, etc. to fuel their addiction... the family's intention is great, but the reality is that their act is actually contributing to the sickness and sad outcomes that come from the addiction....many times death... not the same thing as giving homeless people spare change, but quarter after quarter the net effect is the same....

    Maybe giving food is a better alternative?

    • Aug 29th, 2009 8:01 AM

      Giving food is always good. But how often you carry the food around?

      • Aug 29th, 2009 8:05 AM

        I know, I know, not practical at all.... I used to actually buy the local drunks that would hang out at the supermarket by my place years ago a sandwich and a 40 oz of beer every now and then... which is obviously way worse than simply giving change that could possibly go to food or something positive.... it feels good to help... as you indicated with your original post before I rained on the parade....

        I also probably see the worst of the worst day in and out in my neighborhood (Hollywood), so I might be speaking from a point of view that could be drastically different from areas where there are legitimate homeless peeps and not just row after row of addicts....

  13. olga
    Aug 28th, 2009 4:14 PM

    no, i think we should help those who is a genuine beggars in different way like buying food or paying for their education, depends on amount of money you have. those who is not genuine would never accept anything but money. otherwise we will never have enough coins.

  14. Aug 28th, 2009 3:43 PM

    Excellent question. I bet you friend is a pretty happy guy, right! I think he might be on to something.

    I think my answer to your question is yes, but not if it makes you mad!

    • Sep 16th, 2009 12:51 AM

      ah, but this assumes that jobs are _available_.