Apparently panhandling is big business in the Twin Cities:
- Some people can make $80-100/hour
- Hot corners are being bought and sold
- Tips on best practices can be found online
That should help assuage the guilt I feel every time I pass by someone begging on the corner. Instead the article encourages giving to organizations that can actually help people, which is a good start.
Though I suppose our bigger problem is that we don’t want to take the time or effort to find out something about the person begging on the corner and see if we can actually help them. Something tells me a “pro-panhandler” would rebuff your offer for a meal, while someone who really needs help would gladly accept.
Of course it’s rare that most of us will allow that kind of interruption in our lives. I did once, a long time ago in a city far away, and it was pretty wild. But it’s hard to consistently do that. Just the other day I brushed off a guy who claimed to be deaf in the Target parking lot, even after I realized I had a $5 Target gift card I easily could have given him. Overcoming our own indifference is a daily, hourly battle. (link via MN Speak)