It's always sad to see a fellow citizen down on their luck, to the point where they're standing on a street corner asking for money. You never know what chain of events led them down that road. It's easy to be dismissive, as many people do, choosing awkwardly to stare straight ahead as they're stopped at a red light instead of making eye contact.

And certainly, whether or not to give to panhandlers seems to be a divisive subject. There is one school of thought that says giving to panhandlers actually does more to keep them in the situation they're in than it does to help. If a person sees that they can get by panhandling, then they might be less apt to seek help and take the necessary steps to improve their situation.

Photo by Ev on Unsplash
Photo by Ev on Unsplash

You also never know if that person receiving money on the corner is using it for drugs or alcohol, or feeding some sort of addiction that got them into that predicament to begin with. By giving to a panhandler, you might just be feeding a cycle of destructive behavior. While it would unfair to assume every panhandler is an addict, there does seem to be a connection in a large number of cases.

Instead of giving money directly to a panhandler, many suggest donating to a local shelter that can better use those funds to properly help people in need, whether it be through a treatment program or affordable housing. One such organization is the Rescue Mission of Utica.

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