Help Me I am Homeless: Are you the first to judge or the first to help?

Help Me!

These signs can be seen all over the place.
These signs can be seen all over the place. | Source

Can I borrow a dollar?

The economy is tight. Ask anybody who has been struggling lately to try and make ends meet. Wages have been cut; jobs have been lost; gas prices have raised; food prices have raised. So a vast majority of us make less money than we might have previously, yet the cost of living has increased.

However, if you are still struggling to make ends meet, you are one of the lucky ones. If you still have food in your kitchen cupboard while complaining you need to go to the grocery store, you are lucky. If you can drive to the store because you have a functional car (or maybe just gas in the tank!), you are far better than others around you. If you can see your doctor and afford the medicine when you are sick, then you have a fighting chance to begin with.

These others might not be so fortunate. These others might be left to beg for food or money. These others are standing on the side of the road. These others are there as you exit the freeway. These others are standing right in front of you.

The question is... do you see them?

Raking in the dough

How much dough a person rakes in will highly motivate their actions.
How much dough a person rakes in will highly motivate their actions. | Source

However... and there is always a however...

I am not a person to judge if people are begging for money. After all, I don't know their situation. Maybe they are hard on their luck; maybe they have applied for a million jobs and nothing is available. I have know people who have spent years on unemployment with no end in sight. I have also been known on more than one occasion to spare a few dollars or a few coins or sometimes some food when someone asks. What they do with it, I wouldn't know because I don't stay around long enough to find out.

Then the other day I read something interesting online. It was an article about a man who got arrested for soliciting at some store parking lot. To recap the story: This man was given a warning. He was told to leave the premise or he would be arrested. When the cop came back 20 minutes later, he was still there soliciting people for their money.

The story goes on. The man apparently admitted to being lazy, which is why he refused to get a job. However, he also admitted to raking in about $60,000 a year soliciting money from other people. That being said, is it really a case of being lazy? After all, if you are willing to put your pride aside while pretending to be homeless to earn that kind of living, you obviously know where your skills lay. Yet, this is not the only time I have heard this kind of story.

But still...I am not one to judge people.

Off to the store

I was on my way to Wal-Mart the other day, which is were this story begins. As a lot of other families, we are on a tight budget. But I still needed to run to the store to pick up a few select items to make it through until payday. Because of some unforeseen events lately, money is tighter than usual so I had to be sure to stick to a certain budget.

So, I went into the store. I went to all the spots I knew I needed to be to get what I needed to get to get me through until payday. I didn't browse - browsing gets me in trouble.

About $48 later, I had gotten myself a very expensive package of hamburger buns. Ok - so there was other things needed, but the main reason for going to the store was the hamburger buns. Yet I still successfully rushed the kids out of the store before they could get me to buy them something.

When I got them in the car and unloaded the groceries I let out a big sigh of relief. I had escaped Wal-Mart and spent less than 100 bucks. It was a miracle (and that rarely happens!)

Upon exiting the parking lot, I saw a middle-aged man with a cane standing with a sign:

"Help Me I am Homeless!"

It was hard not to see him as he was standing right at the exit; right where the stop sign forced me to stop and look both directions. But, to the best of my ability, I stopped, tried not to make eye contact, and drove away as fast as I could!

Got me thinking....

It just so happened that a quick trip to the store got me thinking.
It just so happened that a quick trip to the store got me thinking. | Source

My conscious was eating away at me all day....

I got home and found I kept thinking about this man standing on the corner. He might have been hungry and I just ignored him. When I saw him, I was having selfish thoughts.

  • "My husband's overtime got cut for the summer!"
  • "I need to feed my own family"
  • "We are struggling with money. I can't give any away! After all, I need to take care of my own bills!"

But would it have really killed me to have given him something to eat? Could I have spared a couple dollars? (Ok - I really couldn't have because I rarely have cash and I cleared out my change to the last people who begged for money!) Couldn't I have just done something to help this man out?

After all, I don't know his story. But it was "that" story I read on the internet a few days ago that kept haunting me. The one with the man who pulled in $60,000 a year begging for money and taking advantage of people's kindness. I don't mind giving charity for homeless, but when I hear stories like that, I feel I am being taken advantage of, and then I start judging other people. I start wondering about the homeless and whether or not their story is truly legit or are they just working the system. Then I start wondering am I a bad person because I didn't stop and help? The person I ignored might have truly needed that help!

How about you?

Would you help?

See results without voting

Helpers needed

Do you know how to Help The Homeless in your Community. Check out these useful tips.

Would you help?

So naturally, as my conscious was eating away at me, I decided to ask others what they thought and the response seemed to be scattered.

While some stated it was their duty to help, others have obviously been a victim of bad experiences. After all, there is nothing worse than giving someone something to eat only to see them throw it away when they think you aren't looking. Or to give someone money for food and know that they just finished puffing a cigarette. After all, how can you afford cigarettes if you can't afford food? But, then again, who are we to judge. If we are willing to give them the money, then we have no say for what they use it for.

Sure there are people out there that abuse the system. Some abuse the system without even standing at a corner begging for help. And then there are others who have fallen on hard times. Maybe they are crashing at a relative's or friend's house. Maybe their car broke down. Maybe their kid is sick. We don't know there situation and they don't know ours.

There are so many different situations a person could be in that would effect their actions in this situation that this question becomes an emotional one. Hell, maybe you are one of those struggling, just not enough yet to be standing on the corner begging for help. Or maybe you have helped others only to have it spit in your face for it not being enough. Or maybe you help regardless because you used to be one of them.

Everybody has a different story. But the reality of the situation is we are all human and it should be in our nature to help others out. Sure, there might be someone out there taking advantage of your kindness. But then again, you might have helped the one person who truly needed it. You won't ever know, but it is one random act of kindness that could make all the difference in the world.

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Comments 94 comments

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ignugent17 4 years ago

Interesting hub and it is really happening in the society not only today. You don't know now who is the real person in need. We just help what we can. Thanks . Voted up and more.

Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

This just happened to me today. We were in the city and a guy came up asking for money. I didn't help him because I was on a busy intersection and he came right up to my car window, and quite honestly- I was a little freaked out. But then of course my kids were asking why I didn't since we have money and he doesn't. It was hard to answer because in a way, they are right!

I have on several occasions bought groceries for these people and brought them out to them. One time I bought a guy oil for his kerosene heater thing! So I do help, but I rarely give money.

You brought up some good points though. It's a shame we feel like we have to second guess everyone's motives. It causes us to miss those small opportunities. Excellent job and voting up!

lindalou1963 profile image

lindalou1963 4 years ago from Texas

Helping someone would depend on many factors, I wouldn't want to give money to a guy who looks like he might be a drinker. But that would be judging, he might just be sick. I would rather give food. If a child needs medicine, buy the medicine and give that to the person asking for help. I know if I were in a situation, I would appreciate any help. Helping someone doesn't mean just giving them money... give them food, a blanket or a coat for winter.

Jangaplanet profile image

Jangaplanet 4 years ago

It's a very interesting hub. Some people may choose to be homeless while others may actually have no choice. Some could possibly be even rich, pretending to be homeless. We'll never really know and that's sad. However, I always try to give (when I can). The feeling I get knowing I helped someone makes me feel good. Even if they played me. My intentions were based on helping someone. I believe in Karma. Voted up!

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

you know BBG I too have these thoughts when I see such men with boards asking for money for food. I feel giving them food would be wiser than giving them money 'cause dunno the "real" story behind them not having any money.

Food will be eaten esp a packet of biscuits/dough of bread but, money could be spent on any random thing that I am not aware of.

This was a very interesting hub and well done indeed!

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Starmom41 4 years ago

Like you said, there are people who have fallen on hard times, & people who abuse the system- and the experiences I've had in recent years were almost entirely the latter (although I wasn't aware of it at the time). I gave people food, money, cigarettes, brought people home for dinner, even occasionally let them 'camp out' in my home. I found in most instances it was a matter of individuals who had incomes, yet looked for suckers to meet their basic needs. So unless I have some kind of proof that someone really is "down and out," I'd never make those mistakes again.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@ignugent17 - I think what it really comes down to is how helping someone makes you feel. Are you going to feel good knowing that you did what you could or are you going to look the other way and feel guilty about not helping because you just don't know. It is a sad reality of life these days it seems!

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I try to help when I can and I hope that if I'm ever in the situation where I need money or food people will help me out. I find it sad when our food banks are begging for donations. I'm sure which country it is that has no homeless people whatsoever, either Sweden or Switzerland. About a year ago I saw a really interesting documentary about it. If I can find it I'll let you know.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Julie DeNeen - I think if the guy approached my window aggressively begging I would have been a little freaked out too. But I know how hard it can be when your kids start asking questions. Would it be appropriate to tell them that sometimes there are bad people in the world and when someone is being aggressive like that, it is safer to just walk away.

There have been several occasions when I have handed out a dollar or two or some spare change. I once saw someone begging for food and we had leftovers with us. We did a U-turn and turned around to give him the leftovers. After all, better for someone to eat them than to rot in the fridge!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@lindalou1963 - There are so many ways that we can help. I try not to give money because I would much rather give food. But you are very right - helping can be done in so many different ways!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Jangaplanet - I think that is what gets me everytime. If I am in a situation and need the help, I am hoping someone will help me. It really comes down to Karma. But, one person can only do so much and some of these people are choosing these lifestyles. For that, there is no help.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Ruchira - I actually prefer to give food because I know that I hardly ever have cash on hand anymore and I think that it is a better way to help. For instance, if I have leftovers at home, there is nothing better than offering them something hot. Now granted - this actually takes some preplanning on my part. After all, it isn't a spur of the moment help! But it does do one thing... makes me feel much better about myself when I do help someone else.

Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I wish I could help them all but I cant I have helped when I can. our church helps out too.

bless you for wrtiing this


josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania


What a hub that you have here! So thought provoking. I voted that I would judge on how I feel about the person. I agree with Julie 100%. I rarely give money, because then I know I am controlling the situation. Many people will use the money to buy cigarettes, drugs, etc. If I help out, I will always but something for the person. Thanks for sharing this very relevant hub Stacey!

mismazda profile image

mismazda 4 years ago from a southern georgia peach

I would give money based on my gut feelings...this is a well written hub...keep it up...:)

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Starmom41 - Wow - you are a very generous person. Sadly however, you have been taken advantage of way too much. After reading your comment, all I really can say is wow.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Just Ask Susan - Interesting.... I would love it if you find out which one it is for sure. Can you believe that... a place with no homeless. I think I saw a picture on Facebook (ok - so it might not be overly credible but what the heck) that said there are currently more vacant houses than there are homeless... That doesn't mean the homeless number has decreased. That is kind of sad. But then it makes me wonder... aren't we responsible for this situation. I mean - you can only give stuff to people for free for so long before they just think they are entitled.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Deborah Brooks - I think it is hard knowing there truly are people out there that need help and yet you can't help them all.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@josh3418 - I am glad this really made you think. I know it had me thinking for days because I would read over some parts and just not care for them. But really this is a growing problem and because people seem to keep more to themselves, you have to wonder what is going on in everybody's heads. In the same extent, it has been shown that some of these people are actually making off pretty well. For me - I like to say I am a pretty good judge of people so I do go off a gut feeling, and other than change, I try not to give money. I just don't feel right about it!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@mismazda - Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you enjoyed this. If I had more money to give I might be more inclined to give more. But as always, I think we should trust our gut feelings on this one. :)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Ok...I had to go think about this one. The answer isn't really easy for me. I have given money - and plenty of it - to people that need it. I guess I want to be the judge of who deserves my hard earned cash.

There is this underlying resentment I feel in handing over the cash I had to work so hard to get - to someone who doesn't WANT to work. They did a news story here about people that "will work for food" but hold the signs on the side of the road. I believe Channel 2 offered them jobs and not 1 guy would take a real job. Not 1!!!

why? Because those jobs were like minimum wage - well guess what? I wasn't making more than minimun wage. This one guy used to come and borrow money from me all the time...all the time. I was young, had Laurel and raised her with no child support at that time...and this guy who was 4 years older than me had two kids. He would say "hey can I borrow 20 bucks to get my child's school supplies"...of course I gave it to him. But then I was like "hey did you know that so and so is hiring?" and he says to me "they only pay 7.50 an hour and I am worth more than that. I refuse to work for 7.50 an hour."

I was making like 8 bucks an hour at that time. So let me get this straight - I am not too good to work for 8 bucks an hour while you are BUT - who is borrowing my hard earned cash????

I felt pretty stupid. And hey - I don't make no 60,000 a year!!! So yeah, I kinda have a tude about this issue! lol

I bet more people feel that way and don't want to really say that cuz I had to erase it first time - but whatever that is what it is to me:) I hope no one hates me for being selfish!!! lmao

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I seldom have cash but will go to the nearest store and purchase food. I always ask the person what they want me to buy. They deserve that respect in my opinion. If I give money I do not care how it is spent. Once the ownership is transferred it is theirs to use as they please. If they buy alcohol that is fine with me. If I were in those shoes, I might drink also. The main thing is that we acknowledge the person, the problem and exercise the greatest compassion.

penlady profile image

penlady 4 years ago from Sacramento, CA

As much as I believe in helping people, you have to be careful who you help these days. Some homeless people are actually cons seeking extra money to get drugs or alcohol. Some even have homes - I once saw a man who got into a car parked only a block away.

And then you have people who really are homeless. It's just a gut feeling that you get - that this person really does need help. And to me, that's when you need to give.

Even if you mistakenly give to someone who's running a scheme, the fact that you gave from the heart shows that you have a compassionate heart and will be rewarded.

flacoinohio profile image

flacoinohio 4 years ago from Ohio

I usually give a person panhandling a quick once over, I start at their feet and then go to their waist, hands/wrist and neck. If they are wearing newer expensive shoes, a cellphone, a high end watch, multiple rings, and gold necklaces, then I tend to ignore them. I also check out their bags if they have any and the garbage they have lying around them. If I think they are in need, I may give up a few dollars, a winning scratch ticket, or sometimes a gift card for a restaurant. It depends on my gut feeling and what they have with them and how they are dressed. I have seen homeless persons make money by taking shifts asking for money near stop lights and highway on and off ramps. I also have seen them pool their money for alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food at the end of their "work" day. I tend to ignore this group of solicitors because I know the money they have received is going to be used to fuel their addictions.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@RealHousewife - I think you are one of the most generous people I have ever met. You are always up for helping and treating others well. Therefore, I don't think you have any reason to feel bad about the way you felt. What I have found is those who have been burned in the past by those they have helped are often the ones that seem to say they don't want to help. But the reality is... they have. And the other issue is, I don't think they should have to. I have always been generous to helping those strangers, but there are times when I am just annoyed by them. They seem to be seeking me out and frankly, I can't always judge to whether they are a scam or truly in need. Besides, there are so many programs out there and helping is just a temporary fix. For this question, I am conflicted and I go back and forth. It is almost as frustrating as not knowing how to answer the question! LOL

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Hyphenbird - Well said! I think what it comes down to is how you feel afterwards. If helping people makes you feel good then you should always help others out. On the other hand... if you have been burnt by the abuse, then not helping out might be the way to go. What it comes down to is how it makes us feel. Practicing compassion is great.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@penlady - It is funny because this hub was obviously generated by a guy I saw in the place I live... today on Facebook, I saw a posting from the city for arresting someone for panhandling. Obviously this is a big issue. Unfortunately, those that are scheming, probably don't care either way, and those that need the help might willingly go to jail for a hot meal and a roof over their heads. Thanks for your comment and I guess that hopefully we help those who are truly in need and not just conning us away from what we worked so hard for!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@flacoinohio - Interesting. I have never actually seen them group together, but maybe I am not really looking closely. I guess what it comes down to is we really need to use our best judgement. I hope our gut feelings are right! :)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Stacy. We can seldom know if the person who is begging for a handout is genuinely in need or willing to sacrifice pride for a good living in the 'profession.' You have written a very interesting hub regarding whether we view these folks as needy or greedy. I think it all comes down to what we feel in our hearts. So I follow my heart rather than my intellect ... which means I'm a soft touch.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@drbj - I love how you labeled yourself as soft touch. That is a great way to put it. Unfortunately it is hard to judge whether these people are needy or greedy. I hope if I am ever down on my luck in that way someone would reach out and help me and not label me as greedy. But, sometimes we just need to take the chance and have compassion for our fellow humans!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Thanks Stacy and I do also fear that many of them are using my money to fuel a drug habit. I can tell some of them (no not all or even most) but are addicts or alcoholics.

Dave gave some guy 5 dollars a few years back - the guy said he was hungry and wanted something to eat. Dave stopped at a gas station, pumped his gas and as he left saw the guy walking out of the corner liquor store with a fresh brown bag. So there ya go - so much for buying him lunch - drinks on us! LOL

And especially after the news followed these people around and they were given an outpouring of community support. Many companies heard the story, called in and offered up jobs and I don't think anyone took the jobs. They didnt really want to work. Well I don't either - I mean who does? Ok so everyone - don't judge me - go ahead and send me your money! How about that?!

sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

It has happened many times, when I have walked past a person asking for monetary help- and then have turned back to spare a few rupees. Usually that happens when I see aged people ; they seem somehow not to deserve it. I really agree with what you say- it would be much better if we could stall the judgement and share a bit of our gifts whenever it is possible to do so. After all we are luckier than many. Voted up- useful and beautiful. Sharing too.

ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada


Ahh...the ubiquitous roadside resume. I'm somewhat jaded. I lived in the Bay Area for a number of years and the trip from our apartment to the BART station was littered with people who had their hands out for a portion of the $8.25 an hour I was off to go earn.

I quickly learned the skills associated with the 1000 yard stare as I moved my way through and past the phalanx of people requiring some type of aid.

Like you, I do not judge as I do not know their circumstances; however, I know that if I thrust something into every outstretched hand that was pointing my way, I would have been unable to make my rent or feed my dog. The other thing I knew was that those same hands would have been extended the next day as well.

So...we're having burgers tonight?


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@RealHousewife - I was actually kind of hoping that in the title I would catch people off guard and they would want to help me and send me their hard earned cash... Sadly, I haven't recieved one request for where to send the payment. My - I don't know what I did wrong! ha ha!

Oh yeah - and that really sucks. See, it is people like that who truly screw everyone else that might really need help. It is kind of like those who are abusing the system. I can't stand them and I know plenty. I understand... these people are entitled... But why am I not entitled! ;)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Yeah I know I am a real selfish girl. I want to go to France REAL bad though so keeping it real and all - yeah call me what ya like I like money. I don't mind making it myself but I hardly just want to give it away.

Yeah I hope people do send you some money - now that would be cool. haha Just one rich little rich guy with some spare change!

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 4 years ago from Arizona

A confounding topic for many, I have a gut feel on them and a nose, a cardboard alley hotel dweller is generally a bit ripe and a once over you can generally tell with a bit of certainty, that's not saying I've not been fooled. I don't allow anyone to approach my vehicle in traffic, it's a gamble as to their intentions and shooting someone just seems like it would ruin the rest of my day if they produce a weapon at a rolled down window while I have already drawn mine as I see them coming and I crack the glass down so they can hear me tell them to get away from me and my vehicle. If kids are in the car I'd double down on the security thoughts. But.......

Meeting them out side a grocery and other places I generally carry a couple gift cards that fast food joints carry and even Wally world for $7.50 an amount I've figured to get a value meal and change or go into the store and get a few Items and eat as well as I do most days. If they fool me it's OK, my heart was right and I'm not their judge, the store if they want cigarettes they can spend it all on a pack if they like and try another for dinner.

I laugh because I'm not a snappy dresser and I buy my clothes at Goodwill and other places and some times I settle for pants an inch to big, beats the ones with the seat ripped or knee out, and my wooden leg gets seen and people offer me money and I smile and tell them I'm fine but pay it forward to a person who needs it. It's all about the heart and the good Lord knows who's cheating folks. If they have a cell phone and jewelry and uptown duds, I generally say I was just going to ask you the same thing and smile and just go on.

Peace and Blessings,


sparkster profile image

sparkster 4 years ago from United Kingdom

The people pretending to be homeless are really putting the genuinely homeless in an extremely difficult position, I have experienced homelessness recently and not for the first time either and the recent changes in the UK welfare system made it almost impossible to find accommodation.

John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Barbergirl28, and what a wonderful hub this one is.

I rarely if ever give money to homeless. Nonetheless, if they ask me for money in a fast foo restaurant/drive through, I'll ask them what they want and buy it for them.

I remember a narrative of years ago. I was purchasing food in an El Pollo Loco (famous California chicken place) and a homeless man asked me for money and said he'd walk over to McDonald's and buy a cheeseburger at a cheaper price (McDonald's is cheaper than El Pollo). I said absolutely no---two cops were present in the line. Nonetheless, I took out a piece of breast and tortillas from the large meal I had just purchased and gave it to him.

Great hub - voted up


PS. I'm preaching to the choir---you live in South Cal and know El Pollo Loco...LOL

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

I agree--it's a tough issue, and the politics in this country play a large part.

I'm not so far away--a paycheck or two--from finding myself in the same situation, so I don't have extra to donate. And with the price of things today, tossing a couple of quarters at someone isn't going to help them much.

I voted for "gut feeling," but my real answer is, "BOTH of the final 2 choices--it's a combination decision."

Years ago, a lady I worked with told of going into a store and seeing, ahead of her at the checkout, a man she recognized as being always on the island in the street, soliciting drivers in the left-turn lane. He was apparently on a first-name basis with the store clerk, who asked him, "How'd it go today Bob?"

My co-worker was aghast to hear the reply, "Not bad--picked up about $650." And he was out there daily!!

After hearing that, I became a little jaundiced. If you're clearing that kind of tax-free cash money on a daily basis, it is doubtful you are homeless; you're just cheating and refusing to work.

I know this: if we had not gotten our home loan modification, WE'D soon be homeless, and the ones begging on the I definitely am torn between feeling bad for those who may really need help, and my own inability to help.

Voted up, awesome, useful.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Barber....I LOVE this hub. This subject matter can get really deep and complex. Kelly's comment speaks volumes.....mainly because it's's the way some people "think." When a person who is totally destitute says to me...."I'm worth more than Minimum wage, I won't work for $8.00 per hr."....I usually reply with, "Really? Is that because the ZERO you're making now is much better than $8.00 an hr?"

I'm one to help rather than judge, but we also have to use caution and common sense........and the irony is, when we "help" or "lend a hand".......we then are judged by people who think we're foolish or living in a fantasy world. Go figure. We need to do what we choose to do. UP+++

Becky Bruce profile image

Becky Bruce 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

barbergirl I really loved reading this. I too have heard a lot about the "fake" homeless people who make bank begging and I have to admit it's made me skeptical about a lot of pan-handlers. And then I feel terrible too because I want to help people but then again it depends where I am what my gut tells me. A lot of times I give money to those that are not begging for it but instead digging in trashcans for recyclable goods. That sort of determination to make ends met on their own-even in the most dire circumstance- inspires me. Voted up!

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

It may be a hopeless cause in the long run. But to an individual and a particular time it may be critical. One thing to know is that the fellow at the stop sign, does not want interaction, just money. If you really want to help somebody go on down under the bridge next to the river. Be cautious and alert with back up. Then you choose what family to help. You will find leaders there that will help guide you to the least of the least, have 5 dollars for him or her. Do not wear jewelry and have fast food still packaged in your bag. You must have a bag, and you must not have a wallet or cards on you. Then the gifts you bring must be staple and non-offensive, but nothing extravagant. Canned food is the best, do not worry they can open and cook, but food without cooking is ok. Be sure not to teach them into nutritious stuff, they will not eat it. Blankets, a gallon of water and wipees are always good. Paranoia is a survival trait , do not be bothered by it.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@sen.sush23 - I think one of the hardest things to see sometimes is how fortunate we really are. These days we have so much more than the generation before us and the generation before us. We have become very materialistic. It is a shame that we have come so accomstomed to living big. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@ThoughtSandwiches - You bring up a valid point. Help once and they expect it again and again. Eventually you become so overwhelmed with helping that soon you can't survive at all. And suddenly they act like it is expected. I kind of like Reals thoughts on this - she helps who she wants cause it gives her the ability to choose where her money goes. These people, while they may be legit.. might also be scamming!

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barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@RealHousewife - ha ha - right now I am saving up 1's... I figure eventually I will have enough and I can bath in them... or save up for a trip to France. I want to see the Moulin Rouge real bad!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@50 Caliber - Great comment - I really need to start responding with the same thing. I don't mind if people aren't aggressive and just sitting there but when they are aggressive about the whole thing that kind of intimidates me - I am not going to lie. HOwever, ironically those are probably the ones who make the most because I pay them to get away. Glad this hub gave you something to think about! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@sparkster - Thanks for sharing. I know how hard it must be for those who have truly struck out on their luck and their intentions are to try and get out, especially when there are others just trying to work the system. I wish you the best of luck and hope you can find yourself in a better spot soon!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@John Sarkis - Funny that you mention El Pollo Loco.. I think I might have only eaten there once. But I am glad that you helped the guy out and bought him a meal even if it meant spending a few extra dollars! One thing always stands out, when you help another person you definately feel good about yourself! :)

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@DzyMsLizzy - Wow - your story sickens me. I mean - $650 in one day. Seriously - there is just not something right or fair about that. I know that we aren't in danger of losing a roof over our head, but there have been plenty of struggling with the constant rise of gas prices and food. I think of it this way - it really has to be a gut feeling - but mostly, we have to realize sometimes we might just need to help ourselves first!

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barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@fpherj48 - Great comment. It made me think of how much people abuse the system. Today there are so many people unemployed that are using that same excuse. Why stop the unemployment checks when I can hold out for a job making X amount an hour? It kind of sickens me that people think they are worth more than other people, but they are so quick to grab as well. This really is a deep thoughts kind of question and no answer is right or wrong!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Becky Bruce - Great idea... I never thought of helping out those who are not asking. Great idea. I think that helping a person that isn't asking is a great way to help others out but not having to give to those being overly aggressive! But mostly, it is important to follow our gut!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Ericdierker - Sometimes if you are really serious about helping, you need to go the extra mile. I don't know if I would want to put myself in that position, but it shows a lot about a person who goes out of there way to help the person not asking for anything!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Stacy, I have also felt torn at times - guilty for not giving and sometimes guilty for giving. In the UK there's a paper, The Big Issue, sold by homeless people and the vendors all have to wear badges, be polite and sober. The vendors get a percentage of every paper they sell, and is a way for many to turn their lives around. If I give money to them I know they are doing something to improve their lives and not just expecting handouts.

The other thing I do is to donate money and clothes to the charities that help the homeless. My feeling is that they are best able to make decisions on how to spend the money because they work daily with the homeless. A friend of mine once asked someone who worked for a homeless charity about the ethics of giving money to beggars, and this person said the best thing was to buy the Big Issue. I think there might be a similar paper sold in some parts of the US.

I can see both sides of the debate about whether to give money or not: if I do give money then it's not for me to choose how it's spent and on another hub about homelessness someone who in the past had been in the position of homeless and addicted said the street is no place to detox. That really made me think.

On the other hand, if you or I - or anyone - choose not to give money in case it's spent on alcohol or drugs then I think that's valid too. There is no right or wrong really.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Melovy - It is amazing how many people don't actually see both sides of the story (or the debate) Some are either really for helping and others are totally against it. Since I wrote this I can see how much this has effected people and it really has started a great debate. I think that is pretty need how they have a newspaper to help the homeless get back on their feet. I am sure those who want to get out of the situation, will gladly take it. Unfortunately, those that are the ones causing the most issues, aren't willing to work for anything. It is sad how it goes! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

The 3 years we spent living in the Daytona Beach area, we heard stories about people making six figures a year by panhandling and it used to really tick me off. Torn between really wanting to help those that had less than we did (and we sure didn't have a lot) and not wanting to be 'ripped off' by the professional panhandlers, my husband and I decided that instead of physical things, we would help when the situation presented itself.

We love to spend our time together exploring the outdoors and the states around us. Almost every trip, we always ran into someone broke down on the side of the road or stuck or in need of some sort of assistance. This became our way of helping and paying it forward. We very rarely accepted any tips or money (one elderly lady told us if we didn't take the $20, she would be insulted - gotta love guilt). When they would ask us what we wanted in return, my husband ALWAYS said, "Just pay it forward." That usually got a smile, a hand shake and a promise to do just that. I'm hoping it's building up a positive balance in our karma account.

Great hub and a lot to ponder. :)

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

It's a hard thing to know whether you are dealing with someone who is a professional panhandler or truly someone in need. I like to be compassionate and understanding but with all those people that run scams it is hard to know if you are really making a difference.

I love your idea though... Pay it forward. That is a good way to do things. It shouldn't matter who you are helping then, and hopefully they will pay it forward as well. Great idea. Glad I could give you something to ponder! :)

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

I used to be succeptable to handing out some change when I lived in Seattle because you didnt see bums or beggars too often. But now that I live near Protland,OR they're everywhere and I have to come to terms I can't help them all. On my way home I will see between 5-10 and I live in a decent suberb area.

Perhaps I've become desentsitized to it all, but I usually check myself once a year and give out a few bucks to one of them randomly. Every time I've been bit in the butt figuratively speaking. I either see them later in some way that proves to me I was a fool for giving to them.

This last time was a young guy and I gave him $5. He was so thankful and nice. I went into the bookstore and bought a magazine came out 5-10 minutes later and he asked me again completely forgetting I already gave to him so I reminded him and he walked away without a further word. No nice words this time and I believe he was on drugs if he didn't remember 10 minutes ago asking me. I used to be a waitress, older than him, and I remembered hundreds of people even the next day.

Nope, you won't find me being a fool more than once a year...

and the big lesson here is give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats forever. If I don't have a job to offer them or some psychiatric medication, etc then I really am not helping them by giving them a few bucks. Pointless, except to rid myself of guilt (just wrote a hub about that) so it's a selfish reason. I see homeless Vietnam Vets and I give them a number to the VA administration to call- my husband is a vet and he isn't outthere with a sign. there is help and resources for many of these people but they need people to guide them there not just hand them change

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@izettl - That is a very important lesson. Sometimes the best way to help is to give them information so they can help themselves. I understand the whole thing with the vets because I too am a vet and I am not living on the street. VA is there to help them and they need to use that program. Thanks for stopping by and giving such a great comment. Unfortunately, sometimes we just have to take a chance when helping. Some are going to need it and others - well, they are just using us!

mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 4 years ago

You know it is interesting because most of the time I consider myself a very generous person, but I pretty much refuse to help out homeless people. Maybe if I ran into somebody at McDonalds or something I would buy them a meal, but otherwise I will not give them money. Not because I am judging, but generally people who are homeless do not know how to use the money they get which is why they are homeless. This is not always true, but from what I have learned and from the research I have done it is better to take the person shopping or get them food then to give them money. It will be more worth the while. Plus there are many soup kitchens, pantry places, and other homeless assistance in our communities. I would rather donate to them and help out HUNDREDS of people instead of just the one. Also there are jobs out there... people just need to be willing to take them. Too many people are not willing to take a job at McDonalds or some minimum wage job because that 'isn't enough to feed their family' but it is better than not having any money. I'm of the opinion that people need to help themselves and although I will give them assistance (like tell them where a shelter is or a pantry) I feel like that type of assistance is way more beneficial than money. Okay so I probably just made a terrible argument on how I feel about the situation, but there it is. Great hub... a real thinker!!

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

I've also given food to homeless people and they did not seem to care. Give money to the same ones and they are overjoyed.

I feel sorry more for vets than I do random young folks out there begging. They are more able-bodied than myself...and can't get any job? Acually I see a lot of youth begging. It's interesting to know that that's probably the easy way out for them- they'd rather beg than work. In Portland there is a trend of young people who live homeless by choice, unwilling to follow society or parent's rules, etc. they form groups in the city and play music or hang out. It's irritating.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@mythicalstorm273 - I am a firm believer that helping... no matter what the form, is still helping. If you show them the way or just give them a meal, you have probably done more than some who just turn the check. I am still kind of torn on this whole issue. The thing is, if we tried to help everybody, it would completely deplete us. Just look at those that abuse the system and live off of the government. They choose the lifestyle because it is easier. However, life isn't easy. I am not suggesting that sometimes people don't hit hard times, but you have to be able to work past them. But, worst case scenario, even if you can only help one, by whatever means you can help, you have made the difference to that one! :) How's that for talking in circles! :)

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@izettl - I will admit that when I see someone young and able-bodied it bothers me. First off, I understand someone hitting a rough spot, but when they are that young, where are their parents? I don't mind helping out with food and what not, but there are times when these people need to accept that this is not a lifestyle. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

If someone asks for help, I figure they need it. End of story. I can't always help, but if I can, I do--

coffeegginmyrice profile image

coffeegginmyrice 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

You wrote this hub with all honesty, barbergirl. I am still jobless and frustrated about not finding one yet. But I can't resist to spare my quarter to someone begging for it as I surrender my shopping cart outside the supermarket. If I can still spend for the unnecessary cravings, I can surely spare a decent change for a beggar who needs it more than me. A small token you see, might bring me rewards for what I am looking for. I believe that kindness will pay us a hundred fold; and selfishness...karma is just around the corner. The latter is scary.

Other times, we have to consider on how the person begging appeals to us. Even if he uses a quarter to buy a cigarette, that is what makes him happy. Every human being deserves to be happy. If he is in dire need to eat or drink, he will let that quarter wait for a bit for a better purpose.

There is this man who begs around the corner of my street, downtown (but I have moved now). I spot him 3 to 4 days a week on my way to work. I have become friends with him because when I am a little early, I take that chance to chat with him. He is old, frail with cough, wrinkly, but always has a tender smile for me. His smile and honesty in his words hit me right to the beating on my chest. On some days, he isn't around because another peddler gets there first before him (he's told me). They can't be in one spot at the same time. So, I was missing my good friend when I don't see him.

Two winters, I gave him hand-me down jackets from my husband's and bought him brand new gloves, toque, socks and a thick scarf (not expensive but I thought could help him feel warm) and wrapped them up as a Christmas gift from me. I forgot the food, *sigh*. He was joyful to receive the wrapped gift and the next morning on the 26th of December, he was there with a cardboard sign in bold writing- "I WILL TAKE ANYTHING YOU GIVE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO WRAP IT."

I have made friends with him; now, this brings back memories and I miss him again.

Beautiful and awesome hub!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@AudreyHowitt - You are a kind person. You don't judge, you just do what you can. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@coffeegginmyrice - What a great and touching story. I am glad that this made you remember fond memories and I am glad that you were able to give him something he appreciated so much. Just love it.

stayingalivemoma profile image

stayingalivemoma 4 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

If I have it, I always help!!! You can't tell a persons story by looking at them and you certainly cannot judge a book by its cover. I have met some fascinating homeless people and they are no different from the rest of us; just trying to survive.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@stayingalivemoma - Great comment. You can't judge a person by what they look like and we just don't know what their story is. As you said, we are all just trying to survive, some just have it easier than others! :)

Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

I almost ignored a man that I did not believe when he asked me for a few dollars at a convenience store. Nearly upset my 8-year old son pleaded with me to give him the money. I called the man back to my car window and gave him the money. He had told me that his family was stranded in his car down the interstate waiting for him to find money for gas. I went in the direction he pointed and saw no car.

Another man asked for money for food, and I pointed to a community kitchen. He became angry and said that he did not want to walk to the kitchen. Another man asked for a quarter at another time, and I gave him some change. He spun around, went into a store, and purchased three loose cigarettes.

Another man asked me for money while I was walking downtown. I gave him a few dollars, and he walked straight to a liquor store nearby, and purchased a bottle of wine. Yes, I watched these men as far as I could and saw what they did.

Recently, two women, poorly dressed and wearing dirty bedroom slippers, asked my sister and me for money as we arrived at a nursing home. My sister gave, and I was hesitant. The ladies, 60ish introduced themselves as minister and patient. I did not believe them, but my sister, very willing to give, gave a few dollars and I gave also. I have been fooled so many times, more times than the ones I am relating.

Crack heads are on the streets every day begging for money to support their habits. Three reformed runaways told me how they once swindled men out of money by dressing in tattered pants and tees, yet looking sexy as they solicited near a department store. The got money from women, too, but men gave more. They said that they raked in as much as $500 a day. A young student told of his friend and himself pretending to be "good Samaritans" as they collected money at an intersection for victims of a house fire. These are just a few stories that I know of.

I prayed and asked God to give me a sign like a calm or sure feeling whenever someone needed, really needed, money. I am depending on that. These scammers are causing many people not to be supportive. Before I retired, I gave often at work, I give at church, I support a few charities. I support community programs. When some people discover that one is generous, they will rob the person blind. I know that we feel pressed to help sudden cases sometimes, and that is fine. I have decided that I give enough. I feel like I do my fair share. My income is not grand, but I give about 15% annually to charities. I also volunteer community services.

My sister always says, "Give anyway, and let God deal with the liars." She has your spirit. If I should have that attitude, I am not there yet. You are right: we cannot judge others, but when I see what the scammers do, the proof is in the pudding.

A certain person asked me for a loan nearly every month. He had a good job, new car, nice home, fine clothes, and anything anyone would want. I reasoned that he mismanaged his money because he had a super job with the government. I felt as if I was enabling poor management. I stopped doing it, and a close friend and relative of his told me that I made a good decision because that person was not using the money for good. Sometimes, we have to follow our hearts about things; otherwise, we would be putty in the hands of scammers.

This is such a thought-provoking hub. Thanks for sharing.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Levertis Steele - Glad this was thought provoking. It really makes you wonder about people out there. These days there are so many scammers out there it is hard to pick out the real ones. It saddens me. You have to take the good with the bad and realize that if you go out and help someone you need to do it with no strings attached.

lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

I wish I could say that I was such a good person that I would give someone money even if I didn't have much to give. But, I'm human. Sometimes my heart won't let me walk away and sometimes I find that I'm feeling jaded about the whole thing of begging. I do think that if our hearts in the right place, things usually work out the way they are suppose to. Great hub!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@lrc7815 - Well said. For me it kind of depends on the day, the mood and the person. Some days I just want to give give give and other days I am just angry ... thinking about how I am struggling to make ends meet too and I don't want to give away my money. I need to sruvive. But in the end, things always work out! :)

Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

Interesting hub. I too have heard the stories of people who make big bucks from begging. Maybe this happens, but I doubt that it applies to most. I live in a small town where this kind of soliciting is rare, but when I go down to Sacramento I see the same guy, at the same intersection with his sign. He's there rain or shine, it doesn't seem like laziness, it seems like a hard job.

As for people who spend the money on cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, it's all about addiction. I know people with jobs who put those things ahead of food. It's not about whether they can afford it, it's what they need.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Sherry Hewins - Well said. People are driven by addictions to the point of not caring about anything else but that addiction. They need it more than they need a roof over their head and food in their belly. Who are we to really judge. I can't honestly say I envy their position. After all, like you said, it is hard work. Alot of these people are out there day after day, rain or shine. My husband and I were talking about this, and I don't think either of us would stand a chance. Begging will do havoc for your image of yourself. I can't assume that is a way of life.

Askme profile image

Askme 4 years ago

This hub is food for pun intended. LOL.

I lived for years in an area of Los Angeles where homeless people seem to be all over. I guess the city was deemed a homeless sanctuary? Anyway....I have given food to people only to have them throw it away or say "I just want money!" I actually got into a screaming match with a homeless guy sitting on the off ramp and causing a traffic jam. I learned from the police the guy is not homeless and frequently uses his school aged kids as bait.

Another time at the market I was behind a guy I know is a panhandler. He was buying Soy milk and other high priced food items. He paid with an EBT card and was telling me about how "Caltrans" woke him up too early as he sleeps in a tent by the 405 freeway....seems if he could gripe about Cal trans and gets EBT benefits he should be able to find some job, any job.

I don't know. I think we should not feel guilty about not handing money over to people who will use it for alcohol. I think it is better to give it to organizations that really do put the money toward homeless people, like Habitant for Humanity and the Salvation Army. I trust these organizations.

Lizvdw18 profile image

Lizvdw18 4 years ago

If they're hungry or thirsty i will go and buy and coffee or a donut for them, but i wouldn't give them money.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Askme - I think it is things like this that make people hesitate to help people that truly need the help. I agree though, it is safer to donate to organizations you trust. I know talking to another friend they came up with a similiar situation. They tried to help by giving a person food and when they thought they weren't looking they just threw it out. Shamefull really.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Lizvdw18 - I think that is usually the best way to go. If they are truly in need of help, the will be greatful for whatever they get.

sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 4 years ago from India


Very nicely written hub. India has got countless beggars who wont leave you alone. Be it traffic signals or any religious place. Our Govt advertise that if you give money to a Beggar then you have made him/her beggar for whole life. Begging is now mafia and good spots are rented for lots of money. They even hire small kids to show people that their son/daughter is sick and need money. They are known to get deep wounds and not let them heal so they get sympathy from people and they pay them. Few years back dept of income tax India found that a beggar had 4 big houses in Delhi and two summer houses in Himalayas ,where people like my dad work whole life to buy one small two bedroom apartment and feel like king. Also try to give job to these beggars and they won't take it. it is proven fact. So now I don't judge and know that 99% are frauds. And No I do not give them any money, how much they act in pain or in need of food. I would rather give that money to responsible charities like CRY so they can spend that money well.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@sweetie1 - It really is a sad situation. I have seen stuff like that before where people make a job. Not to mention if you do give them stuff, they seem ungrateful for what you did give them. It has been interesting to see all the different thoughts on this topic. Thanks for adding.

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Oh girl! I have a story that will curl your hair!!! I have been meaning to write a hub on it and just haven't done it yet. Tomorrow may be the day! Let me just say that I don't give money anymore. I will buy them food or gas, whatever they need, but I don't give them money. I will do my best to write my story tomorrow. It will definitely be the next hub I write. This is a good hub, you feel guilty about not helping, yet you wonder if you are just being fooled by someone who is basically a liar and a cheat. It's hard to say. Voting this up and interesting! :)

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@sgbrown - I seemed to have been cheated by so many people that these days I find it really difficult to trust people. The good part of me really wants to believe that they need my help and that I really should help them. But, the other part of me assumes everything is a scam. Heading over to check your story out. Curious if you got it done! Look forward to reading it! :)

Kenja profile image

Kenja 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

I don't usually give to panhandlers. About half are scamming or could be using their time asking for a hand out more productively.

Of course, that means the other half (somewhere between 40-60%) are in real need. But, there are over many thousands of legit charities in this country. There are soup kitchens, shelters and churches who feed in every state. The paradox of course is that many poor areas have the least resources, and the people in need have to get to these soup kitchens, and a car is usually the last thing they have, nor bus fare. (and how do you know if a charity is legit? you check it out online: ).

As for the root of the problem: well, Americans need retraining for the jobs of today, and the federal govt has to play a big part here because more than half the states are strapped for funds. As for our current debt: how much money have we spent on Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting over 1oo military bases worldwide, and in foreign aid to other countries? Right, enough to feed, job train and even clothe every single poor person in America or ten years, easy.

So we have to answer this question: what areo ur priorities in this country? Spending 11 years warring against ragtag camel jockeys who could never bring us down in the first place -- or on our own kids, education, R&D, roads & bridges, food for the poor, and shelter for the homeless.?

WE HAVE the money to do all that (and maintain the largest military in the world), but we don't. Tax breaks for those who don't need it, oil, corn, sugar and solar subsidies, big waste in Medicare/Medicaid, and our huge military eat most of it.

So instead of researching charities or deciding, with guilt, handout or no handout, research the people you vote for. See which companies donate to their political campaign the most, and study what legislation they support. Usually doesn't take more than 30-50 minutes to get those answers online. Then vote for the kind, sane, we're-all-in-this-together men and women candidates, not the ones who are in the back pocket of Big Pharma, the NRA or the Coal Industry. With the right focus and long-term priorities, 80% of poverty could be eliminated in this country in just 10 or 12 years. Believe it.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Kenja - Interesting perspective. I do think it is important to know where you are handing your money too. I wish there was something more we could do as a nation, but sadly, I don't think it really will change much. While I believe my vote counts... it is a matter of banding together as people and all having the same idea and inspiration. It would be a great thought knowing poverty could be eliminated, but I am not sure if that will ever happen in my time.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

A very skinny young man once approached my van near a fast food place. He kept his distance while asking for a handout. My young son said, "don't give him anything, he's a junkie, just look at him."

Ignoring my son, I handed the guy a few dollars. He thanked me politely and headed right for the food. Even junkies have to eat.

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

We have to stop looking at homeless as freaks. We must engage and understand. We must make friends with them. They are our neighbors, we must know them by name. I do not like it when someone gives me a dollar. But I am obliged when someone offers a meal. And I enjoy the company when they eat it with me. I might smell bad and look bad, but for me that is the way it is. Probably your great great grandpa only took one bath a week. Your touch, physical or mentally means the world to me.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Dolores Monet - I like to think that I usually give most people the best. I would have probably given the guy money as well. Glad he put it to good use. I once emptied out all the change I had and gave it to someone. I usually don't carry cash on me anymore so it was all I had.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Ericdierker - Interesting perspective. I agree... we need to befriend those that truly are in need.

sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 4 years ago from India

Barber girl,

Out here there are organized mafia running in to begging business and most beggars have surgically amputated limbs to get more alams. I would help someone I know but I wont help someone I d not know.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@sweetie1 - Wow - I think if it was like that out here I would definitely hesitate helping someone I didn't know!

MelChi profile image

MelChi 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

I will admit that I judge these people for the same reason as to what you read online. Some of them are well dressed and don't look like they're struggling. They DO look lazy. I don't feel guilty anymore about avoiding eye contact or driving off, because I'd rather be giving my money to someone who was trying to help their circumstances. There are people who spend all day trying to sell things they make out of wire or garbage bags, or whatever. At least they're trying. I know I'm judging and who knows what will happen one day, but I could never see myself doing something like that. I'd want to do whatever I could to help. Standing for 8+ hours a day's just not something I'd ever even consider. Great article though....thought provoking!

Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Thailand

An interesting article. I have helped people that I thought really needed help, but I am also suspicious. This is because I worked in finance before and saw many 'beggers' making more money than I did (and I wasn't doing bad either!). That was also tainted by times when food was thrown back with a shout of 'money', and also the crime. A classic two person scam is to have one ask for a dollar, then another on a bike nearby. As you you pull out your wallet, the bike shoots past and it is gone ... with all your money and cards. Although these happen, I do try and help sometimes ... but, once burned ... well, you know the rest.

Shared, up, interesting, pinned and tweeted.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@MelChi - I don't think I could ever beg either. I would just feel bad about it... even if I did need the money. And just the other day, we had a teenager beg us for money. He yelled after us.. come on... I am hungry. My husband looked at me and said... if he was so hungry maybe he shouldn't have a fresh haircut and all name brand clothes. He didn't look like he was in need at all. Maybe that was a bit judgemental on my part as well.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Brett.Tesol - Those stories are a little sickening. If I would have been burned like that, chances are good I would have never tried to help again. Thanks for the share.

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