We all know the feeling of wanting to help when a person in need asks us for money on the street.
But sometimes spare change can actually hurt more than it helps. Instead of giving money to panhandlers, consider making a donation to an agency that supports people dealing with homelessness, addictions and hunger. When your money goes through these organizations, people get the supports they need to change their lives and break the cycle of poverty.
When you give money directly to a panhandler, they can rely on that cash instead of getting the supports they really need. It also encourages them to continue taking risks like panhandling in traffic or in extreme cold, putting their safety on the line.
Next time you get asked for change, remember that sometimes the most helpful thing you can say to a panhandler is “sorry, no.”
Sgt B Norman
Calgary Police Service