PANDHANDLERS – HOW TO HANDLE THEM

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Panhandlers (panners) aren’t invisible. Stop debating as to whether ot not to give them money. Don’t. Instead, look them in the eye whenever you neet, smile (acknowledging they have a right on this planet just as you do) and say, “Good Morning,” in a friendly fashion. Don’t hurry on. Realise that you have a right to do as you do. Don’t judge or condemn them. If you’re asked, point out where they can get a free meal regularly.
If you don’t KNOW where, educate yourself. Your local library will know. In our town, one restaurant in particular will always provide a bowl of soup and a roll with no questions asked, no money exchanging hands. There’s also a list of rotating churches that feed the homeless plus our homeless ‘restaurant’ which is not a soup kitchen and costs a dollar. There is no need for anyone ablebodied to go entirely hungry here in a harsh northern climate.
If you’re comfortable with it, and not as a daily thing, pick out one or two to focus on and contribute to them from time to time. I chose a woman over 70 who delivers the daily paper at 5AM and has cats to feed and the gentleman from my neighbourhood at the top who has his challenges. If I hear the person I have chosen is putting the $$ towards drugs, I stop. If I know for sure. But I never stop saying good morning.
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This panner seemed to be part of a gang of 3 who were taking turns sitting in the chair draped with the red blanket while the other two watched from a bench facing. I smiled and spoke to each of them. I reserved the right to not give them any money while still acknowledging their existence on the planet. This feels good to me.

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