Re: Question of giving (News Jan. 6).
To me the answer to the question of giving is a compromise.
Should we give to the needy? Yes. Should we give anything to them directly on the street, I think no. If every person that gave money, food or anything directly to panhandlers started giving exclusively to the agencies that help the homeless, I’m confident that we would see panhandling disappear from our streets.
As long as getting support directly from the street is available as an option, people will go there for help. For many, just giving some change or food directly on the street is no more than a way to ease their conscience, but it is a cop-out.
If one truly wants to feel they have done their part, they should give their money – and even some of their time directly – to those agencies that will truly give street people what they need to get off the streets. They need things like counselling and direction to the appropriate government agencies for their particular need.
Really the question is not so much whether to give, that is obvious we must help those less fortunate, it is the right thing to do. We just need to make sure how we give is actually helping and not encouraging the needy to stay in an unhealthy situation.
David Charles Blanks