This is a response to a previous article published entitled “Panhandler Like Me”
Last fall my son and I were at a sandwich shop enjoying a light dinner when an elderly gentlemen came in and asked the clerk how much was the cheapest sandwich on the menu. The clerk replied, the man paused for a moment, dropped his head and began walking out. I immediately intercepted him and asked if he would be offended if I bought him that sandwich. Graciously he accepted and this man was not hungry that day.
I recount this story because Jim Luken’s story is about “another hungry person”. He tried to add credibility to his charade by not eating for a day so he was indeed hungry. Define hungry Jim.
This half-hearted attempt to imitate a segment of our population to give the writer a chance to voice some personal snarky comments is clearly an example of blatantly applying the First Amendment. However, his published opinions are just that – his opinion. And that opinion is sending the wrong message.
Partway into the article he details his disappointment of a couple’s stinginess as they walked past him on way to the theater. Stingy – Really?
Let’s face it, there are plenty of people who genuinely need help and there are others who have a different agenda. Just the other day I was leaving a garage on Calhoun and a young man was next to the exit gate querying every driver as the car window is down to insert the ticket. He asked for money quite aggressively and I equally aggressively responded by asking why he doesn’t just get a job. His response was he didn’t want one. There is a clear difference between this young, able-bodied man and that guy in the sandwich shop.
This is not about the panhandlers’ state of affairs, this is about Jim and his obtuse opinion that people are stingy because they don’t drop dollars in anyone’s hands holding a sign. My wife and I never give people money on the street. Yet last year we donated nearly $2,000 to various area charities. In fact, Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) is trying to discourage panhandling and instead promote giving on a larger scale to support organized social services. Funding appropriate charities that provide food, shelter and medical care to those who really need it is how we as a community can move the help needle in the right direction. And yes Jim, people do have a right to “legislate” or at least ask how any money given as a charitable contribution on how it will be spent, it’s called accountability whether it’s a charity’s annual report or a simple question to the person inserting the bill in their pocket.
So let’s set the record straight… If a percentage of the $45-a-ticket theater goers disposable income does not end up supporting a bona fide charity to help our community at an enterprise level, they may be considered stingy.
Dear Jim: Given your narrow opinion towards apparent tightwads it can be implied that you support handouts. You may give to one, another, another, another, another, another, another and another. Suddenly you have one bill left in your wallet with a picture of Ulysses S. Grant. Uh-oh, now you walk by another and simply pass by. That person has no idea you just handed money to eight different people but according to your model and that ninth person, you are stingy. Welcome to the mislabeled club Jim.
PS: Give to established charities, not outstretched hands and move that needle.