Originally Posted by Krazycatlover
I would but since it is not legal I wont. I saw on the news that in salt lake the police were pretending to beg for money and if people gave them some they would give them a ticket.
That offends me more than I can say. (Not your post, but that it's illegal and the police are ticketing people for giving beggars money.) It's my
freakin' money. If I want to share my
money with someone less fortunate than myself, that should be my right. If I get scammed by someone only pretending to be in need, well, that's my own fault for being gullible, but I should be able to make that decision for myself. To the best of my knowledge, it's not illegal here; if it were, I'd still do it.
Catnapt raised a lot of really good points (and thank you for sharing your story!). Being able-bodied and employed at a craptastic minimum-wage job does not keep a roof over your head or put food on your table, especially not if your money is going to pay for other things like feeding your children or taking care of medical bills (thank goodness I'm Canadian!). Furthermore, just because you can
work doesn't mean someone's going to give you a job. The market is tough, and if you don't have the education (or sometimes, even if you do -- let me tell you how much good a degree in English does a person these days ...
) sometimes the best you can hope for is something menial and low-paying, and more often than not, it isn't enough to pay the bills, especially if you live in a city with a high cost of living (Toronto or Vancouver, anyone?). And what if you can't work, because of physical or mental illness? I have a friend with chronic fatigue syndrome; the only reason he isn't homeless is because he's able to work for his family, and they're aware of his condition and know that he might have to miss days on end because of his illness. Having battled depression, I know it's nigh on impossible to get out of bed some days, much less take care of myself and go in to work. Yes, there are services out there to help people in these situations, but they don't do enough, they don't make enough of a difference (not that I'm saying don't give money to charities, because they really do try their best!), and in many cases, the people who need those services aren't willing to go to them (or don't really believe
they need the assistance) -- I really do applaud anyone who's been able to make ends meet by using these services, because I know it's extremely difficult. Likewise, I don't condemn anyone who can't
make social services work for them, because I know for a fact that it can be really damn hard.
I understand that people might be afraid of being mugged by a beggar, or don't believe the beggar is actually going to put the money to good use, but it saddens me that those few rotten apples spoil charity for those who really do need it. As someone else said, who are we to decide who is deserving and who is undeserving? I like to think that the food and blankets I've given to people on the street made a difference, and that what little money I have given out was used for a good cause. Maybe I'm being naive, but like I said before, it's my
money, and having come perilously close to that situation myself, I consider my donations to be my way of thanking the heavens I never ended up so badly off. Kudos to anyone who did end up worse than me and managed to get back out again.