GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – The most common question we get asked at Mel Trotter Ministries is “What do I do when someone asks me for money on the street”?
There’s no simple answer, but my shortest answer is usually a question: “what do you feel called to do?”
First and foremost, I recommend that we all demonstrate compassion. It sounds simple, but if we’re honest, it’s easier to walk on by without acknowledgement.
In my experience, most panhandlers are not actually homeless, but that shouldn’t make them invisible, and it doesn’t mean they don’t have a need to fulfill. Maybe the need for the day is an addiction to feed, maybe it’s a family to feed. Either way, are we asking the right questions of ourselves when we see a panhandler? Instead of asking “What would they spend this money on?” maybe we should be asking, “will my couple bucks really help this person out of their situation, or will it keep them coming back to the same street corner?”
Should you give to a panhandler? That’s between you, your conscience/God and your wallet.
Should you consider investing in life-change rather than giving spare change? Now that’s a concept to ponder at the next red light.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey
More thoughts on panhandling can be found here: https://meltrotter.blog/2015/09/11/the-west-michigan-hardly-homeless-panhandlers/