Lois M. Collins: Who are the 'worthy poor?' It's not for me to judge

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  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 11:29 a.m.

    I do not choose not to give out of fear of being taken advantage of, I choose not to give out of fear of contributing to the continued destruction of public places that can be enjoyed by the tax paying, non panhandling public.
    Giving panhandlers what they want absolutely increases their numbers and makes them more agressive, just as it does with pigeons and seagulls. As others have pointed out, there are many alternatives to panhandling to meet peoples real physical needs. But those alternaves fail to meet the panhandlers beer, cigarette, and drug needs, so there they are.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    As the Man said, "the poor they are always with us". The LDS church (I am not a member) has an excellent system for helping the poor through their fast offering program. My understanding is it is open to members and non-members to both contribute and receive and the Mormons have a well earned reputation for being frugal and responsible with money.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 1:16 p.m.

    I agree with the writer. Err on the side of generosity.

    I see good points on both sides of this issue, so it may help if we consider what would happen if exaggerate both sides to the extreme and speculate as to what might happen.

    Extreme giving: Everyone gives what they have to anyone who asks.

    Results of extreme giving: We don't have to judge any more. Some who would otherwise work become lazy. Some crooks end up very rich and unfulfilled. All the givers feel good, don't mind helping each other, and they all get along. God may smile upon the givers.

    No giving: Everyone ignores every request for help.

    Results of no giving: We don't have to judge any more. Some takers realize their folly and decide to support themselves instead. The needy who can't support themselves die. Those who have enough today fear ever needing to ask for help in the future. Perhaps they begin to give to those who don't ask, lest they die lonely among their possessions.

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 11:27 a.m.

    I'm with Question on this one - when it comes to judgement day, I don't want to have to explain that I didn't give because I was afraid of being taken advantage of - it makes me sound prideful and greedy (my money and pride are more important to me than helping someone). I am not going to be judged harshly for helping someone who doesn't need it - I will, however, be judged harshly for not helping those who need it. I would rather err on the side of my soul....

    The idea that giving to beggars increases begging is ridiculous. People who beg do it either because they need the money or because they are scamming you. Giving to those who need does not make more people need and if people are going to scam you, not giving to beggars is not going to make them not scam you - it just means they have to find another way to do it.

  • Question Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 10:52 a.m.

    I've always been taught (by my parents and my religion) that it's not my place or responsibility to JUDGE whether they NEED it or not. It is only my responsibility to give what I can... and let THEM suffer the consequences if they are scamming people. If I DON'T give... it would be ME who suffers the consequences of disregarding the Savior's commandment to give and not judge.

    So I always play it safe, and give.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 10:02 a.m.

    It's dangerous to give to the beggars. It increases their numbers. They generally spend the money on drugs and alcohol. They become increasingly aggressive and even violent in the case of Brian David Mitchell. There is no need to hand out money to these people; there is plenty of food and shelter available for the truly needy.

  • madison Magna, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 8:34 a.m.

    I agree that Lois is. perhaps, not the one to judge who are the deserving poor but, with limited resources, someone has to. Otherwise all our means would be drained away and nothing left even to feed ourselves and our own families.

    If we cannot give then we say to ourselves: I would give if I had the wherewithal to give. Those who are wealthy, on the other hand, would be wise to use discretion in giving to the best inidividual or collective causes. This does require the exercise of positive discrimination.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 6:26 a.m.

    People who say they will work for food, but then refuse to .. should be prosecuted. These people make it hard for those who are truely in need to get the help they deserve.

    A lot of people don't give because of the scammers. Also the scammers cause donor fatigue.