Shari Johnson: Handouts aren’t helping panhandlers

May 1, 2014 

I have been a citizen of Modesto for 28 years, and I believe we have an ever-increasing problem with panhandlers. Look around, you see someone loitering on a corner, parking lot, or outside any business looking for a handout.

I have noticed an increase with parents using children to solicit even when their children should be in school. Dogs are being used to get money for “food for their dog.” This tactic is no longer just being used by the homeless; people of all socio-economic statuses and ages are participating.

I know that the unemployment rate and homelessness are very high, so people are really struggling. However, there are programs to help people in need. I feel that by giving money continually we are encouraging this to continue, as well as creating a bigger problem.

In order to stop this, we, as a community, need to stop enabling panhandlers and help them to seek the resources they truly need. There is an expression: Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day; show him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

SHARI JOHNSON

Modesto

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