I guess begging season is back. I'm seeing more of it around my neighborhood each day and the numbers are growing fast, all over New York City streets. Yet, it hasn't been like this for years.
In fact, there's been less panhandling because the police have been arresting those engaged for solicitation. They say that beggars can't be choosey. Yet, around my neighborhood the beggars are always asking for what they want: whether it's food, money or anything else that they may need.
I see on average ten beggars each day. Some actually ask people for what they want, and it's normally not spare change. At first, I thought maybe they just weren't trying to carry so many coins around.
I don't mind helping anyone. However, what bothers me the most is that she is demanding. I like to give what I can give, not what she wants. Who does she think she is, asking people for what she wants? Has it reached that point now? I know if I'm giving anything it has to be my choice. This really bother's me, because there's help out there for people like her, who are homeless and hungry. Unfortunately, Co-Co, like many others, chose to beg instead of seeking help. I know this may sound harsh, but I wonder if it is their pride not allowing them to get the help they need? Or, do they make so much money begging that they don't need the help?
I've been homeless before, and without hesitation, went to a shelter and complied with all that was asked of me. Reason being, so that I could eventually get an apartment. And believe me, it was hard. Dealing with a child in the streets of New York: a child which I had to take to school daily, take myself to work, and return to a shelter where no one really had compassion for us. I dealt with it for six months, determined to get what I needed for my daughter. My question is why can't everyone else do the same?
I opened my eyes more after an old friend of mine told me what his father does, enabling him to pay his car note. My friend stated that his father collects SSI and SSA checks, which can an average about $1600 a month. The father pays $300 in rent and also receives $200 dollars in food stamps a month. To my surprise, he makes a living out of going on the subway everyday begging for money.
This is his father's hustle. He claims on the trains: that he has Aids, and that he's homeless, both of which he is not. And of course hungry, which can be possible. But, he has no need for asking for food when he gets food stamps each month. My friend's father dresses in old clothes, that are ripped up and dirty looking to make his story more believable. He makes about $200 dollars a day, which is an average of $6,000 a month. He uses this money to pay his car note for a 2009 BMW. He is taking money away from hard working people, like myself, and it is a shame that this is not a crime. When I heard this story, I was so upset because its people like him that are messing things up for the people who really need the help.
After these findings, I am now more careful with giving my money away so freely to anyone. I am not asking you to stop giving money to those in need. Just be careful who you're giving your money to because they could be needy or just part of the group of people going around scamming others.
By: Fiordaliza Charles