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Thanks for your thoughts on this. As a Security Manager, I know that most of the determined panhandlers in St. Paul are addicts or people who chose the lifestyle of begging.
As a Christian, I know this is due to their lives and self-esteem being damaged by sin, both their own sin and what society has inflicted upon them. They have so many challenges. Giving them money does not heal them.
However, I have heard very positive things about Union Gospel mission providing the support and structure to change lives in St. Paul. Minneapolis has partnered with shelters and St. Stephen's to find housing and other support. See Giverealchange.org or read about Minneapolis' Downtown100 program, Homeless Connect programs and their committment to ending homelessness.
So giving money to a charity is clearly the best action. Only in the most unique situations, or as guided by the Holy Spirit would I give a panhandler money. I completely agree with your thoughts.
a year and a half ago
You can give something. And share a word of hope at the same time. $.25 is something.