OPINION: Guide to homeless giving from a former homeless person

Dec 7, 2018, 3:37 PM
Stock photo

You see it on street signs and hear it occasionally from state and community leaders: Don’t give directly to panhandlers and the homeless. But why?

I was homeless once and, believe me, I wouldn’t have made it without the compassion of others.

Shouldn’t I be just as compassionate when I see someone begging for help? I don’t want to be that guy who doesn’t help after he has been helped.

Positive ways to help the homeless

That’s not the message though says homelessness advocate Pamela Atkinson.

“I don’t want to stop people giving, please don’t get me wrong. I mean, that would be terrible,” she says.

Instead, she and other leaders say charity should be directed through an organization aimed at helping the homeless through the most effective ways possible. Even though it’s hard for me to swallow, I agree.

I’ve heard of people giving food or other items to the homeless only to have those things discarded on the street. And, let’s be honest, most of us don’t have a food handler’s permit and aren’t qualified to be making meals for the homeless in our personal kitchens.

But we should help! And we should be teaching our kids to do the same. There are plenty of places to volunteer and plenty of organizations that need your charity. And those places make sure the people in the greatest need get real, lasting help.

One last note on this: People are in need all the time. As one homeless man put it, “We do live all year long, you know.” So let’s not limit our giving to just a few weeks a year around the holidays. Let’s do this right and do it regularly.

Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Don’t forget to review and subscribe to the JayMac Mac News Show podcast on Apple Podcasts. Or follow Jay on Twitter and Instagram or on Facebook.

Today’s Top Stories

Jay Mcfarland

Jay Mcfarland

JayMac: The time for talk is over

JayMac: My favorite thing to hear from listeners is "You know, Jay Mac, I don't agree with everything you have to say, but I understand how you got there."
3 years ago
trump parade tanks...
KSL News Staff

JayMac: Will July 4th military parade salute America or Trump?

Will president's July Fourth military parade in D.C. be a salute to America or to Trump?
3 years ago
Nike is canceling a sneaker that featured a version of the American flag from the late 18th century...
KSL News Staff

Should Nike recall its Betsy Ross flag sneaker?

The Nike Air Max 1 USA has a retail value of $120 but is selling for more than $2,000 on resale site StockX after the shoes were pulled from retail shelves.
3 years ago
mackenzie lueck investigation...
Jay Mcfarland

JayMac: A cautionary tale from a young woman’s death

A young woman's death exposes dangers lurking online
3 years ago
mackenzie lueck missing...
Jay Mcfarland

JayMac: Don’t blame Mackenzie Lueck for her disappearance

JayMac: Resist the urge to blame the victim until all the facts are in. Mackenzie Lueck and all victims deserve better from us.
3 years ago
Jay Mcfarland

JayMac: Sick of babysitting parents, kindergarten teacher quits

A Virginia teacher says it's not her kindergarten students who are driving her away from the profession. It's the parents.
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
OPINION: Guide to homeless giving from a former homeless person