When I was coaching baseball at Mass College of Pharmacy, I used to go right by Boston City Hospital on Mass Ave. I would constantly see the beggars at the traffic light just before you turn to get on the expressway. The same beggars were there every time I went through there. This is their job.
How do you know who is down on their luck and who is defrauding. Begging is tax-free. The people who give to these individuals do so out of compassion and possibly guilt.
Why do some people have to beg for a living instead of getting a menial job that at least is steady income? Some beggars do make enough money to support their existence. Of course, these people do not have luxury items and maybe they do not want them, but most beggars chose this way of making a living. Many homeless people do not chose to live this way, and these people are too proud to beg.
If you really feel that you want to help the needy, give to the homeless shelters. They will distribute your gifts to the people who are too proud to beg on the corners of our busy city streets. Your old clothes that are just a bit too small to wear (or too big if you lost weight while studying your karate
), is a very good gift to give. Homeless people, especially during this time of year when the weather is starting to get cold, need coats and sweaters.
I donated two large shopping bags full of clothes, that were old but not worn and did not fit anyone anymore, to the homeless shelter in Brockton. They even give you a receipt to declare the gift on your income tax return. These were older clothes that my children had grown out of, and some outdated clothes that my wife would not wear anymore.
Many times, I have seen people put these old clothes into boxes that sit in some of the parking lots of retail stores. Some of these boxes do not go to charity
. Instead, they are resold as second hand goods making a profit for the storeowners. Please do not give to these boxes. Find a homeless shelter or Salvation Army box to donate to. The Salvation Army sometimes sells the better clothes but they use the proceeds for food and shelter, not for some entrepreneur who decided to put up these boxes to get free merchandise to sell at bargain prices.