Help the real poor, not the panhandlers

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  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Feb. 15, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    Mosiah 4, 17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

    18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 5:19 p.m.

    There is a significant difference between helping and enabling. The first is constructive and the second is not. In fact, enablers frequently make things worse by reinforcing bad behavior even if it salves their conscience.

  • AllSeeingEye Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 10:32 p.m.

    I respect Mr. Larsen's opinion, and I disagree with most of it.

    While some of his assertions may be correct, his judgmental attitude towards those who choose charity is a little much for me.

    Further, the ideas that only the under-informed are charitable and that being charitable causes harm are absurd.

    Most of all, giving money to beggars does not keep a person from making other significant contributions.

    I fast monthly and contribute as generously as possible to the most efficient charity on the planet funds that help hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty. I also contribute to wonderful charities like the Red Cross and the Road Home. I have many times volunteered to feed the homeless and provided a significant amount of food for such efforts. And, on my best days, I also contribute to beggars on the street. These things are not mutually exclusive so far as I have been able to tell.

    A wise sage of early America said: "ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain" and he asked "are we not all beggars?"

  • 1Reader Sunnyvale, CA
    Feb. 14, 2014 7:39 p.m.

    I strongly agree with this article. Andrew Carnegie was one of the greatest philanthropists in history, donating over 2,500 libraries at a time when they were of immense value. Carnegie believed that giving to beggars was one of the worst things you could do. Indeed, giving to career beggars is simply immoral--and only feeds the fire of helplessness, dishonesty and laziness. When I see someone give to a roadside beggar in the US, I think: 'What are you doing? You are literally paying that person to beg.' There are real needs and legitimate poverty among us--but those impacted people tend to work, or at least want to. There are effective programs to help people, which we should support. There is no societal economic benefit of begging, for which we pay. Unfortunately, I hate to think that people placate their consciences and resolve a social awkwardness by dropping a few dollars in such circumstances. Too often, maybe especially in SLC in my experience, beggars are demanding and aggressive of passersby; and they create unsafe and unfair situations.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 4:53 p.m.

    It is difficult for me to believe that poor people choose to be poor. I think it is a failure of government that there is poverty and poor people. While not all beggars are part of the real poor, I don't think they are begging as the result of economic choice.

    I don't think they have a whole lot more than the basic essentials of life. I think our government(s) have denied these people of the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as promised by the existence of America.

    If begging gives themselves the best income of their choices, why do we condemn them and not the parasitic businessmen who tell greater lies, work less and produce no visible product for the society. Like those who make their income from "recommending" someone else to do a job.

    As for charity, why do you think it is better that part of your giving goes into the pocket of a businessman instead of all to the poor.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 14, 2014 3:22 p.m.

    As someone who has logged over two million miles driving on business during my life, I have had frequent "face to face" conversations with "beggars". They see my license plate. They know that I am from Utah. They think that Utahns are charitable. They ask me for twenty-bucks to get them to the next "rest stop". My response has always been to call the police to get them the help that they need. I remind them that there are agencies who help those who are stranded and destitute. EVERY TIME that I have offered to call the police to get them help, they have refused that offer. Many have resorted to calling me the most unchristian names imaginable. They tell me that I have no compassion; that I am turning a blind eye to their plight.

    I have helped the truly helpless by buying them an airline ticket or driving hundreds of miles out of the way to get them safely home, but all to often, those who have their hands out prey on the goodness of good people.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 2:05 p.m.

    This is a needed truth that needs to be repeated over and over.
    My father-in-law, many decades ago, was a room mate with a 'homeless' person. He would dress up every day, in his homeless clothes and leave for work. My father-in-law did as well. He worked
    for a Candy Company as a an accountant. He paid his taxes, and SS.
    His room mate made equal if not more working his 'corner', not accountable to anyone but himself.

  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    If you want more bad behavior all you have to do is reward it. I totally agree with this writer. When I moved from Utah to San Diego back in 2004, I saw very little begging here in Utah. Most of it was downtown SLC. It was all over the place in San Diego including the off-ramps and center dividers at stop lights of some streets. When I returned to Utah in 2007 I was surprised to see begging every where including the off ramps.

    While in California I decided to never give money to panhandlers, but I have given meals. I prefer to give much more to organizations that actually help the down and out. My personal preference is the Food and Care Coalition in Provo. Anyone can get a meal there, even the panhandlers that work University Avenue just two blocks away. By donating to the Food And Care Coalition I feel no responsibility or guilt for not giving money to panhandlers which does nothing but increase the problem.

  • Baker Boy Westminster, CA
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:09 p.m.

    Why not do both? Give a buck to the panhandler, and donate to your favorite charity that helps the poor. In fact, why not let your legislator know that there are homeless people on the streets who need help?

    Who am I to judge that the panhandler is or is not worthy of aid?

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Good "My View" piece. There are some legitimate homeless and hungry panhandlers out there, but you need to get to know them before you can be sure. I found one and helped him get a job, and he could tell me which of the downtown SLC panhandlers were legit and which were there because it was their "job." Good advice to give donations to legitimate agencies that provide direct help to the really needy.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    Thid Barker, you have taken a constructive discussion to the gutter.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 14, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    I like to give money to the institutions that help the poor and the panhandlers. It doesn't cost much and I don't see a need to judge them.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 14, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    The DN should've done something to help this writer. Pleeze.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Feb. 14, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    Liberals need two things in order to survive and advance their socialist agendas:
    #1: Victims
    #2: Your guilt.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Feb. 14, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    If someone is so downtrodden, and beleaguered that they will approach me and ask for money I will often give them a buck.

    It is good to have tangible, visible evidence of the poor among us, even if we find it distasteful to have come in contact with them!

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 14, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    "The truly poor, homeless, and hungry here in America often lack the skills necessary to make a living panhandling."

    I wouldn't know about that. If it's true, I might make a bundle giving seminars on the art of panhandling.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    I have adopted the same strategy as Clark. In fact, whenever I encounter someone begging for a handout I've taken to giving them a card with the contact information for the aid societies to which I contribute just to be sure they know I care.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 14, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    This was a rather helpful article. I tend to want to give to people who ask on the street directly, but I always hesitate with the worry that they'll misuse the money, or that the money will only go toward something that gets them by a little longer without going toward a means of sustaining them. I'd never considered simply giving to community institutions such as kitchens or shelters, who I can better trust to make good and effective use of the money.