This sign created by a Twitter friend @sonyakeith from Cali.
I like this sign Sonya made. Do you know why? Because it has drive, action, and a message. Yes, i know it was created to drive home a point, because i am sure she isn’t really holding this sign out on the freeway….although i bet she would!! LOL :-))!
I have been wanting to write this blog for quite a while and just have not had the words to drive home my point. Mainly, because this is a delicate issue and i do not wish to be misunderstood by my possible lack to pick the right words.
First, Panhandling. I approve of it. As long as it is done respectfully of others. Not disturbing or harassing others. I do not approve of aggressive panhandling and if i see it, i stop it. If someone is holding a sign or asks someone for assistance of any kind whether it be material or monetary, i do not see a problem with it. Especially in our world today, people simply need to survive, money, food and clothing helps them do that. However, if someone denies them their request, then the Panhandler should not and i expect them to not throw harsh words, hand gestures or continue to bug them for the assistance. That only harms the whole process for everyone else. For Example: I do not approve of panhandling to patrons of restaurants for example while people are dining outside or waiting to get in. There will always be someone to assist. If no one does, then i truly believe God sends someone who will.
If you are a City that has banned Panhandling, have you put something then in place to take the place of what has been lost? To supplement the folks out there in need who were panhandling simply to get by? Yes, i realize there are those who do abuse panhandling, but there are far more that do not. Do not give me your “numbers” to attempt to disprove what i just stated. Your “numbers” are distractions to the unknowing General Public. I am in the streets, i know the difference and the truth, i see the difference and the truth. You cannot fool me or anyone like me.
With that said i state, here on our website that we as nonprofit 501c3 Public Charities have a responsibility to those on the streets and it is to help relieve the Cities of their burden. However, if the Cities ban and remove something such as Panhandling, then it is their Responsibility to replace it. All you have really done is make things worse.
Responsibilities of Nonprofits when it comes to Panhandling: First, you know painfully what the situation is. I do not need to go into all that. I believe it is our Responsibility to teach those in need who we assist the proper ethics and ways to approach people when Panhandling. Bottom line, teaching, mentoring, guiding them on the ways and times when to and when not to approach someone and how to act when they do. How to act when they receive and how to act when they are denied.
Yes, there is a lot to this and there is a great deal to be done in regards to it.
Bottom line, if someone wants to give their money or food or some other gift to anyone, anywhere that is that persons business. However, they should never be threatened. Feeling and being are two different subjects.
Examples of Panhandling Sign wording which i do not approve of:
1) ”Honestly, I just Need money for Beer” – Yes, seriously, there are many of these out there. - I drink beer myself. No, it is not illegal for anyone (not even someone who runs a nonprofit) to drink or want beer or alcohol as long as you are of age. Yes, even those who are homeless. The problem here is that person holding that sign may not even be homeless for example. And i find many of them just smiling and smirking in their sarcasm. Not everyone panhandling is homeless. Thats ok, but it is the bad stigma that a sign like this passes on to the public and harms it for others who are honestly in serious need just to get by moment to moment, day to day. Sorry, Beer is NOT a necessity. I am not saying they do not have a right to a beer, i am saying do not be a fool about it. Re-Write the sign! If you do not know how, ask someone at a local nonprofit or mission. Ask for money if you want, but do not harm it for others.
2) “God Bless”, “God Bless You“: First, I am completely a God Loving, God Working individual personally and so is our nonprofit organization. However, in these cases this is most times simply a con. The sad part, many times the person who has it on their sign doesn’t even realize it is a con, because they have been told to put it there and they will get something from it. A way to inflict guilt on an unknowing Public. It really does nothing to help that person in the long run. Do they even know God? Do they even realize what God Bless You means or what it entails? Or even the ramifications if you use it improperly, for profit in other words??? No, they do not. Ask them. You will see it immediately on their face. Then, go get them a meal or some clothing, or toiletries or something of that nature or if you are moved, then give them some cash if you are moved to do so and understand they truly need your help more then you knew before.
3) Out of work, with Family, Please help: Family?? Really?? Where are they? How many are there? Any children? How many? What are their names and how old are they? I simply cannot tell you how many times i have stopped to assist someone with a sign like this and they never ever mention their “Family” that they have on the sign. When asked, they cannot give me a straight answer. Yes, there are plenty who do have families on the streets and are ‘Street Homeless”. However, many times a sign like this is only another way to inflict Guilt on the unknowing Public.
There are many more and this is only a few.
My point i am trying to drive home is, i would like to see us all help anyone Panhandling. Even that guy with the “Beer” sign. Help him find a better way to word his sign for his needs. Find out what his needs are. I would like to see ALL of us everywhere help anyone in need, especially in “your own backyard” in your City, in your neighborhood.
I would like to see more signs like the one above, this one that Sonya K. made. Signs with drive, action, with ambition, with meaning.
In all honesty, those Panhandling have all those traits, drive, ambition and meaning. Have YOU ever tried to Panhandle? I have. It is not easy.
Do not be afraid of someone Panhandling, FIRST, look at their face, it will tell a story.
Lets, teach them a better way, mentor them to a better way. Give them better ideas. Maybe, make a sign for one you have come to know or see all the time. Make it a sign with drive, action, meaning and ambition.
Make it something like Sonya’s Sign: