Toledo Talk

Who Gives Beggars Money?

We've all seen the people on the corners of intersections or expressway exits begging for money. I've exited I-475 at Cory for 20 years. About six years ago, the phenomenon of a person begging at that exit began.

Prior to that, I never saw homeless people roaming that area with their worldly belongings; it's obvious these beggars aren't "local." So this begging thing must be lucrative enough to warrant standing in 0-100 degree weather.

The question is--who continues to contribute to these beggars?

created by Starr15 on Feb 23, 2014 at 10:40:53 am     News     Comments: 48

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Comments ... #

I only give my money to local beggars. I like to support the community and all.

posted by slowsol on Feb 23, 2014 at 10:46:18 am     #   9 people liked this

So, how is it obvious that they aren't "local?"

posted by justread on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:02:53 am     #   2 people liked this

Our church is located near Summit and Cherry. The beggars that approach our parishioners always want money and only money, even if their "reason" is they are hungry or they need gloves or their baby needs formula/ diapers. We've offered to get them food-no thanks, given them hats/gloves-found them laying in the snow at the end of the block, and the baby they were holding - it was just a bunch of blankets. The times we have given money, we've either seen them around the block with a bottle in a bag or making an "exchange" with another low life. Our priest has told us to NOT give these people money. There are numerous agencies that we contribute to that can offer help to the folks that really need it. Whether it be food, clothing, of even help for a bus ticket so they can get home for a funeral.

posted by llz on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:10:47 am     #  

My Mother struck up a conversation with one a few years ago. He told her that he panhandles 9 months of the year. When the weather got too cold to stand outside, he had a job at a tire business for the 3 coldest months. He told her he made tons more begging for money than he did working for it.

posted by OnePlainPerson on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:22:34 am     #  

Who Gives Beggars Money?

Will answer your question for money or food.

posted by Sohio on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:27:44 am     #   2 people liked this

I stopped giving people money, but if somebody says they're hungry when I'm at the downtown gas station I'll buy them a sandwich

posted by upso on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:44:15 am     #   2 people liked this

posted by justareviewer on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:49:08 am     #  

The times that I have given people money, I didn't really care whether they bought a sandwich or a beer. It was gone anyway, and their issues are their issues. I never thought that my 5 bucks created the problem or made them an alcoholic. I never considered my gift part of a rehabilitation program. I have bought people beers too, after all.

I did sometimes wonder if it was a career. I think that a good portion of it is likely the combination of homlessness and mental illness. If self-medication goes with homelessness and mental illness, perhaps we should address the mental illness problem.

Maybe if we did address the mental health and homelessness problem, we could then legislate against panhandling like they do in many places. I was in Mesa, Arizona and they arrested panhandlers because it became so prevalent and the encounters were often confrontations.

posted by justread on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:58:53 am     #   2 people liked this

I passed a guy at 475 and Corey yesterday, and I noticed he had a ziplock bag at his feet that had toothpaste, soap and other toiletries and essentials. I thought that was a good idea to hand out this instead of money, but who knows if he kept it or not.

posted by JohnnyMac on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:59:46 am     #   1 person liked this

I noticed that the little island between lanes at the Glendale entrance to Southland has been posted "no tresspassing." I kind of assumed it was an anti-mendicant device.

posted by justread on Feb 23, 2014 at 12:04:42 pm     #  

I believe the Hobo Union Local #169 could answer all your beggar and pan handling questions.

posted by hunkytownsausage on Feb 23, 2014 at 12:20:38 pm     #   1 person liked this

Who Gives Beggars Money?

1) People who are a little naive and often well intentioned.
2) People who do not understand that the short term gratification they feel for doing a small deed of philanthropy contributes to long term damage to the receiver of that gift and to the local community.

I strongly believe that if a person has earned their money it is theirs to spend as they choose. For my part my money has been earned honestly and through hard work and investment. Society often will correlate money to greed but that is not the case. If you have earned your money honestly it is a badge of honor. I will not trade that honor for someone who needs… beer money, cigarettes or dope. I would suggest that people who are inclined to give to the less fortunate “a term I dislike” they should follow some tips above – do not give cash! If you wish to promote good values tip that waitress a little extra who does a nice job and is going to school in an attempt to better her career. Frequent that family run business that is working extremely hard to stay afloat. Do anything that promotes value and hard work in your community and avoid the guilt trap of aiding someone who is merely looking to support their own vice.

posted by Danneskjold on Feb 23, 2014 at 12:25:41 pm     #  

Yes mental illness goes with homelessness, but that is not the people we are talking about here. The truly homeless are not begging on street corners in "nice" areas of town, they are walking and sleeping in the alleys near downtown and in the woods by the parking lot at The Docks. Believe me you can see (and smell) the difference between a career beggar and a truly needy homeless person.
Last summer I was at the Meijer in Sylvania when I spotted a man approaching customers in the lot. His story was that his family had been evicted but through the help of an agency they would have a place in a few days. But he needed money for food for his "babies". He truly looked upset. A few weeks later I saw the same guy at the Speedway at Laskey and Secor. Same drill/story. Only this time I did see him get into his vehicle which had sleeves of cd's strapped to his door. Just last month I saw him at the Meijer on Alexis, again-same story.

posted by llz on Feb 23, 2014 at 12:37:36 pm     #  

Anytime someone approaches me selling a copy of the Toledo Streets Newspaper I am more than happy to buy one, even paying extra. The idea of empowering the homeless people to "earn" some pay and provide a valued service is one we should all support. The first copy I bought had an article, written by the woman who sold me the paper, telling the story of the loss of her child and her recovery.

http://toledostreets.org/

https://www.facebook.com/toledostreets

posted by sparky31134 on Feb 23, 2014 at 12:46:59 pm     #   1 person liked this

A few years back, walking through downtown Chicago a guy asked for some change. Reached into my pocket and gave him all the change I had. Only made it a few steps before the guy started chasing me down and yelled "this is only 27 cent!". Told him that was all I had and to beat it. I was mad.
A block later, a guy said "Look, I ain't gonna lie, I want some money for some Jack Daniels.". My friend and I laughed and invited him into the bar were going to. Bought him a shot. He said thanks and walked out. Last time I ever gave a beggar money.

posted by TrilbyGuy on Feb 23, 2014 at 01:49:48 pm     #  

Had a guy at Kroger's (Alexis/Lewis) ask me yesterday. Claimed to be type 1 diabetic and he forgot his insulin and was feeling high blood sugar and needed something to eat to get his sugar down. Being diabetic myself, I pointed out the flaw in his argument. He walked away.

posted by Erin on Feb 23, 2014 at 03:21:30 pm     #  

OnePlainPerson posted at 10:22:34 AM on Feb 23, 2014:

My Mother struck up a conversation with one a few years ago. He told her that he panhandles 9 months of the year. When the weather got too cold to stand outside, he had a job at a tire business for the 3 coldest months. He told her he made tons more begging for money than he did working for it.

I bet he made tons more - I doubt very much he was claiming all of that cash income as taxable, thus he 'made' more than at his hourly job at the tire business.

I almost gave to a guy in the NYC subway once - said he was passing out sandwiches to the homeless, blah, blah, blah; I was reaching in to my pocket when he said 'help those who can't help themselves.' Sorry, everyone can help themselves, they just actually have to put some effort in to it. I'll help those who are helping themselves not those who depend on others.

posted by MrsArcher on Feb 23, 2014 at 04:20:54 pm     #  

The question is--who continues to contribute to these beggars?

The government?

posted by madjack on Feb 23, 2014 at 04:30:25 pm     #   2 people liked this

I'll help those who are helping themselves not those who depend on others.

<sarcasm> How heartless. How cruel. You must be a 1%er</sarcasm>

My mom quit volunteering at the food pantry at her church because she couldn't stand the people that came in demanding free stuff. Not asking. Not saying please / thank you / "I'm so grateful" / etc. Just saying "It's free and you have to give it to me" (NOT an exaggeration--I witnessed variations of this myself when I came down to help a few times).

"Freebie pigs" drive me insane. And it's not heartless to say that they are out there.

On my kinder side, I've dropped off food / water / toiletries to real sad homeless cases before. Try to help, but sometimes mental issues cloud whatever help that could be mustered.

posted by oldhometown on Feb 23, 2014 at 04:48:26 pm     #   2 people liked this

I can't say I regard beggars with much more than skepticism and even sometimes hostility.

I can't say I am religious or otherwise spiritual.

Yet there is something strangely beautiful about the ideals espoused in this biblical passage.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Its really easy to be bitter and jaded, but to actually be above it and always give the benefit of the doubt when it is not harmful to you to do so is quite difficult. Most of us with careers and salaried jobs won't miss a buck or two occasionally given to someone with less. I often feel like the people who get the most upset by beggars and then quickly tries to write off most of them as scammers who are comfortable and not in need are just fighting their own conscious because what if they aren't? Would you really miss a few bucks every so often? Of course not, but most of us are selfish and greedy so we would rather rationalize our poor behavior to justify our lifestyles.

I sincerely doubt many or any beggars are pulling down 40k (or 30k or 20k or etc.) a year or anything worthwhile even if they might not be as bad off as others who also beg.

posted by WillWorkForWork on Feb 27, 2014 at 12:19:54 am     #   4 people liked this

@willworkforwork - i'm an atheist. have been for years, but... i've read the bible. front to back, old testament and new (book of revelations is still one of my favorite things ever - it's TERRIFYING!).

One thing that always blows my mind is how uncharitable people can be to the downtrodden unless that charity goes through their church (or taxes, depending on the person's political leanings :)). One of the Big Ideas that Jesus had was the idea of being really awesome and giving to the people around you, especially those who needed it most. Based entirely on my understanding of scripture, I'd think that he'd take a look at this thread and just shake his head at it.

Here's a favorite of mine from the old testament:

Deuteronomy 15:7-11

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

And how about some NT clarity as well:
Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

1 John 3:17

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

Matthew 5:42

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Proverbs 14:31

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

Matthew 25:35-45

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

Ask yourself: Would jesus have said no to the person on the corner? I'd bet not - he'd take the time to find out WHY they were there, offer a ride (what would jesus drive?) to a shelter or maybe a restaurant, and be generous not only with his resources but with his spirit. So many of you have hardened your hearts to the lowest in our society due to your beliefs and anecdotal experiences. It might be time to actually live by the spirit Jesus tried to teach.

posted by endcycle on Feb 27, 2014 at 10:43:32 am     #   1 person liked this

Jesus wouldn't have a car, but would have 12 friends who did. And he would belong to a yacht club. (He spent half of his time on Earth fishing and drinking with his buddies and the rest telling stories.)

posted by justread on Feb 27, 2014 at 11:33:58 am     #   1 person liked this

A friend of mine was in college, and actually did some sort of abstract reasoning paper on what kind of car Jesus would drive. The whole project was thick enough to require a 3-ring binder, and he analyzed something like 300 data and logic points. All of it was way over my head, but as I recall, he got a good grade on it. Here's what he came up with as the car of Christ:

posted by Sohio on Feb 27, 2014 at 11:54:32 am     #  

I think he would drive a Christler.

posted by justread on Feb 27, 2014 at 01:32:14 pm     #   4 people liked this

Ghandi said something like "I like your Christ but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ".

Yep---what he said.

posted by Wydowmaker on Feb 27, 2014 at 02:18:01 pm     #   2 people liked this

justread posted at 12:32:14 PM on Feb 27, 2014:

I think he would drive a Christler.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78lqjR3JPAE

posted by endcycle on Feb 27, 2014 at 02:19:00 pm     #  

Wydowmaker posted at 01:18:01 PM on Feb 27, 2014:

Ghandi said something like "I like your Christ but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ".

Yep---what he said.

I know many who are wonderful and kind in spirit. And I know others who seem like morally bankrupt asshats to me. The interesting part from my perspective is that they all seem to view themselves as just about equally Christian. You take what you need from the religion, it seems, and it reflects on you in whatever way it does.

posted by endcycle on Feb 27, 2014 at 02:20:41 pm     #  

Jesus would Drive a Ford-F450 with the pedal to the floor at all times. The back window would have a confederate flag and the cup holder would have an ice cold Budweiser. Also he would be wearing wrangler jeans, and have a live bald eagle in the passenger seat with him. Thats wjwd.

posted by glasscityguy on Feb 27, 2014 at 03:00:58 pm     #   5 people liked this

"......Jesus would Drive a Ford-F450 with the pedal to the floor at all times. The back window would have a confederate flag and the cup holder would have an ice cold Budweiser. Also he would be wearing wrangler jeans, and have a live bald eagle in the passenger seat with him. Thats wjwd. ........"

This is my favorite post of the year thus far (but it's still early).

posted by MariaL on Feb 27, 2014 at 03:50:15 pm     #  

glasscityguy posted at 02:00:58 PM on Feb 27, 2014:

Jesus would Drive a Ford-F450 with the pedal to the floor at all times. The back window would have a confederate flag and the cup holder would have an ice cold Budweiser. Also he would be wearing wrangler jeans, and have a live bald eagle in the passenger seat with him. Thats wjwd.

holy shit i swear that guy drives the trail every day on my commute. i don't think the eagle's been in the cab, but otherwise...

posted by endcycle on Feb 27, 2014 at 06:16:37 pm     #  

endcycle posted at 05:16:37 PM on Feb 27, 2014:
glasscityguy posted at 02:00:58 PM on Feb 27, 2014:

Jesus would Drive a Ford-F450 with the pedal to the floor at all times. The back window would have a confederate flag and the cup holder would have an ice cold Budweiser. Also he would be wearing wrangler jeans, and have a live bald eagle in the passenger seat with him. Thats wjwd.

holy shit i swear that guy drives the trail every day on my commute. i don't think the eagle's been in the cab, but otherwise...

That's Paul. He never cared much for birds, so he's got a wolverine in the shotgun seat.

posted by madjack on Feb 27, 2014 at 06:32:26 pm     #  

Wasn't it Christ who wrote "the poor will always be with us"? In other words, every person who is born, is born with a built-in tax liability, since it is OUR responsibility to take care of the poor.

posted by Wulf on Feb 27, 2014 at 10:14:35 pm     #  

What would Jesus drive? Either a Yugo or a Wagoneer with the fake wood paneling.

posted by clt212 on Feb 28, 2014 at 11:42:07 am     #  

Sohio posted at 10:54:32 AM on Feb 27, 2014:

A friend of mine was in college, and actually did some sort of abstract reasoning paper on what kind of car Jesus would drive. The whole project was thick enough to require a 3-ring binder, and he analyzed something like 300 data and logic points. All of it was way over my head, but as I recall, he got a good grade on it. Here's what he came up with as the car of Christ:

I see the photo is not showing up. For reference, it was a mid-80s AMC Eagle wagon.

posted by Sohio on Feb 28, 2014 at 12:26:55 pm     #  

Would Jesus Wear a Rolex on His Television Show? -- Ray Stevens

posted by oldhometown on Feb 28, 2014 at 02:48:10 pm     #  

So I swung into the Speedway quick for gas on Reynolds near the Slabwyck and I see this 30-something-slight tan-probably-heavy- for-her-height-white-chick standing against the store with a gas can. I jump out of the nice car wearing my nice suit and she makes the approach. While I am practicing my "why I can't possibly drive you somewhere" speech she arrives and announces that she just needs a gallon or two of gas, ran out, daughter with the car, blah blah. I squirted about a gallon and a half of the premium gas I was about to pump into the premium car into her can and off she ambled to areas behind and beyond the store.
I ran some different scenarios and decided I'll never know, but probably got scammed.
I didn't see the gas thing coming, I thought it was going to be the ride. Or money. So I just share this with you so your mind goes both places when she approaches you next. Enjoy.
This was the Speedway on Reynolds across from/close to the Slabwyck.

posted by justread on Jun 19, 2014 at 09:33:04 pm     #  

Yeah, the "ran out of gas" line is an old one. They'll always mention how they have a kid with them and just want to get back home. Guaranteed scam when you hear that.

posted by breaker on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:38:22 pm     #  

"scam" is a tough one, when in the end, they are just trying to figure out how to get money.

I've been hit up by the "my car's broke down the street" so many times it hurts. Or last night, I got a pretty elaborate one of "just got out of rehab, was dropped off right here, just trying to get home to the suburbs and everyone is just offering to buy me a beer" one that... was pretty good.

If i'm in the mood, i'll stick around for a while and play dumb just to see their angle on the story but these days i've got zero cash on me so i'm not much help either way.

Once the bums start carrying credit card readers I'm screwed.

posted by upso on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:04:00 pm     #   1 person liked this

breaker posted at 10:38:22 PM on Jun 19, 2014:

Yeah, the "ran out of gas" line is an old one. They'll always mention how they have a kid with them and just want to get back home. Guaranteed scam when you hear that.

Yeah. I've heard it for money. Actually wanting the gas itself was a new twist.
One step closer to Mad Max, I suppose. Screw cash. We want your gas.

posted by justread on Jun 20, 2014 at 06:28:46 am     #  

Am thinking I need to change my single malt scotch approach. Not working out very well lately. Maybe today will go over and stand outside Belmont CC and see how it goes.

posted by Mariner on Jun 20, 2014 at 07:29:59 am     #  

justread posted at 06:28:46 AM on Jun 20, 2014:
breaker posted at 10:38:22 PM on Jun 19, 2014:

Yeah, the "ran out of gas" line is an old one. They'll always mention how they have a kid with them and just want to get back home. Guaranteed scam when you hear that.

Yeah. I've heard it for money. Actually wanting the gas itself was a new twist.
One step closer to Mad Max, I suppose. Screw cash. We want your gas.

What are they doing with the gas? Just throwing it out because they hope to get cash out of someone? Then why approach someone getting ready to pump gas with a gas can? I'm struggling on seeing the scam without understanding what they are supposedly doing with the gas.

posted by MrsArcher on Jun 20, 2014 at 07:41:12 am     #  

The smokers trade it for dryland.

posted by Mariner on Jun 20, 2014 at 07:49:08 am     #   1 person liked this

Only The Mariner could have posted that. :)

posted by justread on Jun 20, 2014 at 08:20:01 am     #  

I live in the Warehouse district and my job is based in downtown so I deal with panhandlers every time I am working in town and walk to and from my office and a lot of times when I walk someplace for lunch.

I shop at the Kohl's and Bed, Bath and Beyond at Airport & Holland Sylvania frequently and that intersection at Airport is a popular spot for them and last summer I saw a taxi drop someone off when I was going shopping and when I left they were holding a sign begging for money.

What I hate are the ones that are downright harassing. There is a lanky, African American man in his 50's that has said some pretty vulgar things to me and another lady I know and has followed me for a couple blocks shouting comments that I found sexual harassing and vulgar and the police refuse to do a thing when you report him and I have run into him three times this week downtown. There use to be a shorter blonde guy I haven't seen in almost a year that would ask for money. I always just walk and ignore those people and he would make comments such as "don't ignore me, I know you heard me" and "I bet you have some spare coin in that fancy purse of yours." I'm sure it will get worse when Promedica moves down here.

IMO, people that give money to these people are enablers. The security guards at the HRC Building, the Ohio Building and the One Seagate building will go as far as to buy these people coffee at the restaurants in their building.

posted by classylady on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:16:04 am     #   1 person liked this

The guy you are talking about it is on a natural high of some kind? I may know of that guy. He called me a "playa" stepping out of a town car to go into the Bell Building on Madison a few weeks ago. In fact, it was sort of a short poem. He'll say anything to anybody. Just cruising through life.
Is this the guy?

posted by justread on Jun 20, 2014 at 08:05:02 pm     #  

I think I know who this guy is you are referring to but I thought he was in his early 60s, but maybe street life has aged him. Has he been wearing an orange shirt the past 2+ weeks?

His name is Chris and I run into him a lot at Biggby's in the Ohio Building. The security guy will buy him coffee and he will sit in there for hours and he says he is writing a book or poetry.

posted by jamesteroh on Jun 23, 2014 at 09:37:04 pm     #  

Chris Stephens is the name of the guy. He is usually homeless and stays downtown but sometimes he scrapes enough money together to stay at some transient hotel near airport and Holland Sylvania and I have seen him in the spring meadows Kroger as well when I have gone there from my sisters house.

There used to be a homeless guy I would run into quite a bit whose name is I believe Ahmed. He always had on one of those nice dress hats businessmen use to wear and would have on a nice sports coat. I was told he use to be a prof at the U and something happened to him and he ended up being homeless and is from some place in the middle east and a church in the west end was allowing him to sleep there and he would take the bus downtown. He was very clean and I didn't even realize he was homeless until our security guard told me.

posted by classylady on Jun 24, 2014 at 09:57:35 am     #   1 person liked this

How about giving them an application to Mcdonalds?? The employees eat for free and you make money without begging??? Hey sounds like a win win..

posted by Emeritus on Jun 25, 2014 at 11:49:11 am     #