It is the holiday and you will see more than not someone on the corner looking for a hand out. I am OK with this, but want to make sure it goes to those really in need and not a ring that plants fake families around the city in order to cash in for the season.
Case in point, this weekend I saw a woman and 2 children asking for money on a popular corner in the wealthy neighborhood where I live. I think there are generous people in this area and so they set up camp for an entire day.
I was running and errands and passed by several times and finally went to the ATM and drew out $100 and gave it to the woman, and then I gave the 14 year old a pair of Ray bans I had in the car, saying they were for him and the work he had to do for the "family".
I thought this was a Mother and her sons that needed help with holiday cheer. I still do not regret giving the money or the Ray Bans to the young boy - I just hope he is not forced to sell them. But the owner of the store next door of this corner, and one I frequent, said that this is a ring and they use children as pawns to get more money. I can not substantiate if this is true, but I now am jaded and need to pick my street beggars more carefully.
After great thought, it did seems like a scam because they asked for my phone number and began to try and sucker more money out of me. I told them I could not help any more because I am unsure of their circumstance and that I only wanted to help families in need.
Needless to say, they bombarded me with photos of back surgery and that they can not work. If you had back surgery and can not work, how can you stand for 8 hours walking the corner and waver to get more money.
Begging seems hard to me, so why they choose this instead of work, I can only assume there is more money to be made begging with children that working an honest job that pays a very small hourly wage.
Either way, I still do not feel bad but the next wad of cash I hand out will go to the true drunks, druggies, and mentally homeless that do not have a Kia SUV hiding in the background.
The moral of this story is to continue being generous but be careful with your generosity and who you choose to give your money to.