Is It Ok to Give a Beggar Money? Why (not)?


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Is It Ok to Give a Beggar Money? Why (not)?

Postby EPelle » Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:53 am

Guy asked me for £1 on wednesday. No problem. Looked like a kid in need, wasn't anything off my back. A girl later asked me for £0,50 and I declined. She looked like a prostitute, but also looked to be in need. Suffice it to say, she told me to piss off. Not a happy camper.

Should one give any money to persons who ask, or should one abstain from such generosity and teach folks how to fish, instead? How often have you done so? Do you have a responsibility to help, or is it the government's social welfare folks responsible for these folks in the communities in which you live?
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Re: Is It Ok to Give a Beggar Money? Why (not)?

Postby Daisy » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:12 am

Hard call. In one place I lived I knew the local shelter accepted checks so sometimes I'd write one and give that instead of money. In this way you know the money will be used for food and a bed.
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Postby lonewolf » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:26 am

Hard-hearted as I am, I struggle with this constantly. With me, it is a instantaneous gut instinct whether I give or ignore. If practical, I sometimes offer to buy the "hungry" person a meal, suspecting cash may not be wisely used.
Perhaps interestingly, my usual reaction to young women panhandlers is 180 degrees from EPelle. I cannot possibly know their history and tend to be more generous. Possibly/probably influencedby my thankfulness that my two beloved daughters have never had to suffer such indignity.
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Postby gh » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:31 am

The Beauteous Babs recently went to the grocery store and there was an old guy parked outside with a couple of dogs, with a sign that said "please help us." Didn't look like a rummy, and she's a softy for the hounds.

So when she came out she gave him a bag of dog food. Boy, was he pissed!
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Postby Marlow » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:25 am

lonewolf wrote:I struggle with this constantly. With me, it is an instantaneous gut instinct whether I give or ignore. If practical, I sometimes offer to buy the "hungry" person a meal, suspecting cash may not be wisely used.
Perhaps interestingly, my usual reaction to young women panhandlers is 180 degrees from EPelle. I cannot possibly know their history and tend to be more generous. Possibly/probably influencedby my thankfulness that my two beloved daughters have never had to suffer such indignity.

Zackly my thoughts.
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Postby gh » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:50 am

You two wold obviously be suckers for the woman (with a tight-sweatered large chest and fuck-me pumps) who stands at the intersection by our office and has a sign that says "Please help, Vietnam Vet"

Now I know that women served in Nam, but they don't look less than 50!
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Postby Pego » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:34 pm

Eddie Murphy in Trading Places.
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Postby mrbowie » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:37 pm

I used to be a sucker.

Now I don't give money to beggars.

There are several ways to achieve what these people need without having to resort to begging.
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Postby gh » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:22 pm

I've given about twice in my life I think. Both times to amputees who clearly weren't faking it.
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Postby AthleticsInBritain » Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:35 pm

It's not easy to get what people in Britain call 'social housing' which is provided here by housing associations. I applied for social housing for a different reason but was told what would happen if you were to lose your home. First you have to rpove that you're homeless, which in this case meant a copy of the eviction notice signed by the local law Court. You couldn't register as homeless until your eviction period was up (a month usually) by which time you were actually out on the street. Then there was a 12 month waiting list which was prioritised strictly by the date that you registered homeless and you had to wait while you moved up this list to get some kind of housing and I'm guessing not in a great part of town.

I was shocked.

The main housing charity in Britain generally recommends that if you give, give food or something practical and donate the money to a charity for the homeless. We also have a scheme where homeless can stand on the street and sell a magazine called the Big Issue. Anyone who's been to London will have seen them on the street. Sellers are strictly licensed by the producers of the magazine and sellers keep a portion of the profits so they can earn money to buy food and stuff. I generally stick to those two options although occasionally my guilt kicks in and I'll give some money to random people.

ETA: I do give money to buskers though. If they're any good! There's a fantastic guy in town who drew a guitar and mimed along to a battery-powered cassette player. I thought that showed initiative!
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