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Do you give money to panhandlers?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 12, 2008

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Photo of Mary Jane Hemphill

“No. I saw one on the street today smoking cigarettes and I thought if she can afford a four- or five- dollar pack of cigarettes she probably doesn’t need my money.”

Photo of Buddy Hemphill

“Yes. I feel sorry for them. I’m just bad about it, I’m easy.”

Photo of Alexander Pugh

“Yes, when I have money in my pocket. I feel a little blessed I actually have the luxury of having change in my pocket and I figure I could make their situation a little better by throwing it their way.”

Photo of Morgan Gear

“No. I think that they should just get a real job, like the rest of us and do stuff because I think if you’re going to play music, then you should be working to get heard in venues and not on the street.”

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coolmom 9 years, 6 months ago

i have to people with kids with them and occasionally to a man near my coffee place that is always plastered but unfailingly polite if you give him money or not. he is older as well and not so able bodied but i never do the more able bodied ones unless they happen to catch me in a good mood and they are playing something that fits into it.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 6 months ago

The last time I gave up some money was a very lucid, soberminded man in front of Z's Downtown. Prior to that, a woman in KCMO with two toddlers in January about 10 years ago (I still cannot get that memory out of my head). The rest of my "homeless" experiences involved able-bodied men who mostly just needed to get sober, so they got nuttin.

flux 9 years, 6 months ago

Whats up wth that girl that plays the Maracca's downtown? Im tired of her and the biker looking guy who thinks he's really deep and is always interupting my beer at freestate with his crappy acoustic guitar.

Crossfire 9 years, 6 months ago

Yes, but only half dollar bills.I like give half a dollar bill to each bum and then watch them fight for the other half.Even better when you only pass out the left halves.Oh hell I think the bums are gonna kill me.Have a fine Mass Street Day.I gotta run now.

Kat Christian 9 years, 6 months ago

Not usually because I never have any myself. They only time I have a little money in my pocket is payday until I spend it at the grocery store. Then I usually have $2-3 for a day or two then broke again until next payday. I'm saving to buy some restaurant coupons to hand out so the homeless can get a warm meal or a hot drink when they need it. I made some warm scarves last year and handed them out until a lady I gave one to dumped it at the post office. I had forgotten something after I had left and found it when I returned. I gave it to someone else. I won't finance their boozing it up or drug use and smoking habits as well. I do feel they need to apply themselves to finding employment of any kind, but then again where do they go for this? Salvation Army I thought had a program but everyone thought it too controlling. Well there are rules to becoming a production part of society and we all have to play them to get by so I don't see why the homeless are any different in that respect. They just need to do some self-displine (sp?) and want it bad enough. I think wanting to be homeless or wanting others to foot your bill is the easy way out. The more they dig the whole the easier it is to use that excuse. My mama always said, "where there's a will there's a way." There is a place to bath and wash clothes for the homeless. There is AA groups. There is people that can help. They just need to go that direction. Sitting on the stoop of a liquor store is not the answer. Begging on the corner is not the answer. I will help someone if they really need it. But you know I work my butt off everyday. I work harder then I get paid. I deal with the stress and struggle like many and to see someone just chillin' all day long and not making an effort really ticks me off sometimes.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 6 months ago

That's the most profound thing I've ever heard Donnuts say.....did someone hijack his user name?

Flap Doodle 9 years, 6 months ago

I give each panhandler six voter registration forms & an acorn.

Bob Forer 9 years, 6 months ago

I don't like to give them cash, because I have no control over who they spend the money Instead, if I am not in a hurry to be somewhere, I will drive the bum to Cork and Barrell and buy them a bottle of MD 20/20.

JKBagby 9 years, 6 months ago

Hard to determine a real job in this economic crisis. Drug dealers are entrepreneurs. Panhandlers are adapting and overcoming. Yes, I used to sneak beers into the Replay and the pig sometimes, but once on my way to the Freestate I knew I had to ditch the two cans of Busch Lite I had in my coat pockets. I approached a homeless panhandler and gave him the beers. That was years ago and he still smiles when I see him DT. We must find a way to be happy together. Panhandlers just want to get their fix. Remember the dark times in old Europe? Me neither, but the clergy knew that wine was mandatory for maintaining order in society. Free Wine for all Homeless Panhandlers!

Moderateguy 9 years, 6 months ago

Stop giving them money!!!! They have everything they need provided for them by the other bleeding hearts and our own government. They have free room and board with no real accountability other than the SA. If you give them money, be completely assured it will go towards alcohol or drugs. You are an enabler if you give them money, nothing more. If you feel slightly threatened by the way they ask, contact a police officer.

Catzilla 9 years, 6 months ago

If someone is playing an instrument downtown, I like to give them money.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 6 months ago

No, partly because I don't see many of them.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 6 months ago

No. I don't. A few weeks in San Francisco cured me of that.

PapaB 9 years, 6 months ago

Not anymore. I never carry cash or change, so when I offered credit, the guy showed me where I could swipe it.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 6 months ago

"(like one I met in Chicago)"Tony Rezko is back on the street?

flux 9 years, 6 months ago

is this donnuts guy for real? ha ha ha

natas 9 years, 6 months ago

I never have money to give out ... and even if I did I would rather give to a worthy cause, and the people I have seen on mass are not a worthy cause!

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

not usually. that's not to say that I won't in my lifetime. Have been in a situation where someone will ask for a light or a cigarette, which the hubby gives them, and then asks for money, and gets upset when he says no. Some homeless are in bad situations they can't help, and others are in situations where they refuse to help themselves.

Tony Kisner 9 years, 6 months ago

"with their newspapers, coffee, gasoline and twisted sex fantasies at Phillips66" - That is so right on man.

ontheotherhand 9 years, 6 months ago

Now if we could just get them to outlaw the bellringers at the grocery stores . . .

Deja Coffin 9 years, 6 months ago

Maybe if they did card tricks or ate fire I'd give them a dollar. They should offer those types of classes for free at the homeless shelter. Then they'd actually be working for their money so no one could yell at them and tell them to get a job and it'd be BuskerFest or whatever it was called all year long on Mass. Man, I'm still mad I missed that street performer festival. Was it as entertaining as I've made it out to be in my mind?

slang4d 9 years, 6 months ago

No. There was a time that I did, but I see now that many of them have the ability to get a job and just choose not to. They don't want to work for "the man" and think they have more integrity than the rest of us because they live off of other people. I have worked full-time for fifteen years, go to school part-time, and do other work outside of that-- they do nothing. I do however fully support legitimate disability claims for people who can't work and think we should do more to provide alcohol/drug treatment to people who need it. I also donate money to worthy causes that provide specific services to people in need. That, to me, is more valuable than giving my money to some kid for tobacco or beer.

coolmarv 9 years, 6 months ago

I told the barbers at Downtown Barber they were going to have to hire some different entertainers. The "maraca girl" is just horrible. I would pay her not to play. If panhandlers want my money they will have to get it from the charitable organizations I donate to. LINK, Salvation Army etc.

Lisia 9 years, 6 months ago

I have on occasion. Usually I carry some granola bars or other wrapped vaguely healthy snacks with me, and if anyone asks for money for food, I offer them one of my snacks. I have never had someone turn me down for those.My husband gives panhandlers cash if they can entertain him. He especially likes the "Ninjas killed my family, need $ for Kung Fu lessons".

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years, 6 months ago

I give the homeless currency from Zimbabwe. By the time they figure it out, I'm a block away and giggling.

Warren6032 9 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, I give them information on how to get a job. First step is to take a shower.

deskboy04 9 years, 6 months ago

I have, or will have given money to, the panhandlers from Wall Street. The auto industry is now begging for my money. People that got subprime loans have their hat out. I'm not sure if I have enough for everyone.

hawker87 9 years, 6 months ago

I do not give money to the homeless, only because my two brother's were homeless by choice and my mother gave them more chances to take her helping hand and was never taken. didn't get a job and just begged for money and traveled town to town. And I had to work for everything I have. I really and truly despise the panhandlers.

beatrice 9 years, 6 months ago

No, but I would tell a camera man to back the hell up.

flux 9 years, 6 months ago

Donnuts, you're a dork. First of all you make them tell you jokes like a bunch of trained monkeys before you give them money, thats shameful. I like how you preface you're first comment by letting us all now you were sky diving prior to giving them is that relavent. What are you freaking Keanu reeves?

lovenhaight 9 years, 6 months ago

Just wondering what the people from Pass Christian, Mississippi were doing in Lawrence...and how Mary Jane Hemphill (who I agree has an awesome name) could make assumptions about people with less money when Pass was thumped by Katrina, thus making a large percentage of the population "less fortunate". Oh, her hubby is an Oil man...that explains it. Freaking Mississippi.

snobunni21 9 years, 6 months ago

YES....I do because I know that more than likely they need it more than I do and I'm not a psychic so I definitely can't predict what they are going to spend that money on but my philosophy is if it makes their day a little better then it's worth it!!!! Who are we as a society to judge??? If they want the money to buy alcohol or a hit that's their prerogative and if I don't give them the money to get it best believe someone else will. I think it's absurd that a law could actually ban someone for asking for money just because the greedy government wants their share if they could tax "pan handlers" best believe they wouldn't make it illegal. I know what it's like to be without even after you have worked your a$$ off. Some people can't get other jobs, what about felons who aren't even given a chance to make their life better because of mistakes they made in the past.....what are they supposed to do......or people who are disabled and got a really shtty hand dealt to them by the government and they aren't getting enough money to make ends meet but they are disabled and they aren't able to work either so they are just fkked!!! Maybe if we all would help each other out and have a little compassion for fellow human beings and try not to be so self absorbed we could actually make a difference in this world which would directly effect those people in need that we so casually refer to as "pan handlers" and get them off the streets so they couldn't be judged and ridiculed by this naive, self obsessed society

Curtis Lange 9 years, 6 months ago

Definitely not. The ONLY time I've given anything to a panhandler was the one time I absentmindedly wore my AFROTC uniform on Mass St on a stop for lunch. A homeless gentleman who stated he was a Vietnam Vet asked for money to get I bought him a Chipotle burrito instead. Their burritos are good for 2-3 meals if you split em up right.

lubyloo 9 years, 6 months ago

I never give money to panhandlers. They make me completely uncomfortable when they ask me for money. They are also an eyesore. If they want food, there are plenty of organizations around to help them. They don't need to be asking me for my money, which they'll no doubt spend on alcohol or cigarettes. And I resent people who give money to panhandlers because it just encourages them.

coolmom 9 years, 6 months ago

phillips 66 huh? apparently i am going to the wrong gas station.

pissedinlawrence 9 years, 6 months ago

I just want to say that "Mary Jane Hemphill" is an awesome name.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 6 months ago

Hmm... Donnuts... I, too, was thinking your voice had a familiar ring to it....Uh oh, gotta go, sounds like someone singing on my front porch... I wonder... could it be...?

beatrice 9 years, 6 months ago

pid, great catch on Mary Jane's name! That one went right on by me.

hawkperchmoocher 9 years, 6 months ago

I give them directions to housing in the 1200 block of Lousiana

50YearResident 9 years, 6 months ago

Hey Larry, call me about royalties, I will be happy to work out a deal good for both of us. 841-xxxx

50YearResident 9 years, 6 months ago

If this was a T-Shirt by Larry Sinks I would say, Muck the Fanhandlers!

yellowhouse 9 years, 6 months ago

Ask not how he died, but how did he live? Nor what did he gain, but what did he give? These are the units to measure the worth Of a man as a man, regardless of birth. Most dont care about his wealth, nor what was his creed? But did he ever help those really in need? Did he ever reach out, with word of good cheer, To share a smile, to banish a tear? The answer is not what newspapers say, But how many were sorry that he passed away!

yellowhouse 9 years, 6 months ago

Yes, I give them food, something to drink, a few dollars, blankets, a free bike, and even a cigarette once in a while.

FMT6488 9 years, 6 months ago

I NEVER give money - I will give food (not gift certificates - those can be re-sold). Some are on the street by choice others are not. Telling the difference is next to impossible. There is someone on the street now that I went to High School with - he is there entirely by his choice(he is an artist - and fairly good too), he stays on the street so he doesn't have to pay taxes, and also so he can have "more freedom". So, when I can afford it, I will buy a sandwich and give it to someone - but only if they are polite. If they demand money or food, they won't get any from me. If they ask for it, they have a much better chance. Problem is, I can barely afford to pay my own debts right now and with the economy going to pot and a higher sales tax in the future (thanks to all you liberal Larryvilles), I have very little funds to give anyone.

50YearResident 9 years, 6 months ago

Correction, Puck the Fandhandlers......,,,,,,,!!

FMT6488 9 years, 6 months ago

To clarify it more- About 90% of the panhandlers I give food to are "street musicians". The "maraca girl" just doesn't make that cut. Maracas can be played (or is that shaken?), all she does is sit there looking pissed while shaking the maracas with out a single change in rhythm - I could get a 5 yr. old to that. I require at least a smidgen of competency with whatever they play - it doesn't have to sound good, but they should make the attempt.

leadstone 9 years, 6 months ago

Nice, now I've got that ever repeating chick...chick... chick-chick-chick of those GD maraccas careening around in my skull. And she always looks pissed, too. Someone should bring her some wax lips to at least simulate a cheerful demeanor, plus they're flavored.

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