Random Thoughts

Can you spare a dime?

Dear readers, a penny for your thoughts

They used to be called “pan handlers” you know the people who stand on the corners, in the train stations or in front of business, shaking a cup asking people, “if they can spare some change?” Back in the day people didn’t mind taking the time to search the bottom of their handbags or pockets to donate the loose coins that was weighing them down.

Fast-forward…. Nowadays, these same pan handlers are professional beggar and con-artist, who have made a career out of scheming up heart breaking stories to get people to depart with their hard earn money.

These modern-day dens of thieves walk the streets, train stations, airports, and bus stations reciting repeatedly their sob stories of losing a job, or being too ill to be employed. Some of these expert beggars stoop so low they use their children to gain sympathy for being a part of the less fortunate.

I live in New York City, yes, the financial capital of the good old U. S. A. We are over whelmed with a large population of homelessness, and people who are struggling to obtain affordable housing. The minimum wage is slowly creeping up to meet the standards of living, but there is an increasing number of people who are apply for subsidized programs like SNAP because for many families after paying for rent and other necessities there isn’t enough money left for food.

I used to be a contributor to the people who claim to have fallen on tough times. What stopped me is this, New York City is home to thousands of soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters. I am privileged to live in a city that supported me when times seemed quite difficult. Thanks to the Catholic Charities I was able to keep my apartment and have to food to eat, when I was laid off in 1997. It was suggested that I volunteer with one of the Salvation Army’s soup, and in return for my service each day I was given two meals and extra food to take home.  During the few months my volunteer work I encountered some amazing people and I shall never forget their kindness. Because of my experience I’ve arrived at the conclusion that there are many people who choose to troll the streets, not because New York City doesn’t have resources to help them. It a choice.

So, my fellow New Yorker’s, and to my other readers who live in big cities where you meet beggars; instead of digging deep in your pockets giving away money to people who are unwilling to seek out the resources offered by the state they reside in.  Think about how many hours and days you had to toil to earn that extra change in your pocket that someone else is walking away with tax-free.

What Say you?

 

8 thoughts on “Can you spare a dime?”

  1. I too, have lived in New York City. I left it because it was too expensive for the small amount of space you get. I’ll admit. I gives whenever I can. It usually isn’t much but hope it helps them out and let it be between them and God if they are lying about their needs. I know there are many professional beggars out there. But there are also beggars with mental incapabilities, handicaps, alcoholism, drug problems and etc. The professional ones are pretty easy to spot but they who make it hard for people with genuine problems to get the help they need. Many people have incarceration records and other hindrances and do not have the proper ID and other documentations needed to attain assistance from agencies such as shelters and soup kitchens so they resort to begging. There’s always two sides to every coin. Some people can get help and others are shunned. Why? I wish I knew.

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  2. I understand why the organizations require all this but it hinders them from reaching a lot of people who needs their help. They have to show who they helped in order to maintain their non-profit status. There’s an organization in Atlanta that took to the streets to do their charity work and when I lived there. There was always a debate about their not following the rules.

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  3. Thank you for supporting my blog. In my case it wasn’t about rules and having to do the volunteer work in order to receive help. It was suggested to give back to the organization that helped me and they need the volunteers.

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    1. You are welcome. Oh, okay. I used to work as volunteer at a domestic violence shelter and an upscale soup kitchen that looked like a regular restaurant inside but the requirements for getting help often kept people away who needed it.

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  4. Interesting read. It’s very unfortunate that people have not the basic necessities in order to live a sustainable life. Many factors contribute to such outcomes. I think that if the country as a whole would stop spending so much money on stuff for the benefit of foreign relations and maybe spend more time, money and resources into more domestic issues with the high amount of visibility of subsidized programs that actually help those in need, then those in need would get a fresh start instead of doing the bare minimum as if to put a bandaid on a bullet wound would stop the bleeding. Which puts most back to square one. Side Note: For those who make a living off panhandling SHAME ON YOU!!

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