Do I Give Cash to the Homeless?

homeless beggingMost of us have been asked for money by a homeless person. They need a few bucks to pay for a bus ride, dinner or a night of shelter, they say. Should you give them the cash?

Take it from The Salvation Army: The answer, in most cases, is no. We know, we know – coming from us, that’s surprising advice. The Salvation Army, after all, is a Christian organization dedicated to giving. How could we advocate turning down someone in crisis?

The reason: Through our extensive work serving drug addicts and the homeless, we know how they think. They conjure false stories to manipulate people into giving them money that, most of the time, will not be used for the right thing. Instead, they spend the money on drugs, booze, prostitution and other evils.

By giving to a homeless person, you’re giving them what they want, not what they need. You are reinforcing their self-defeating behavior. By choosing not to give, the homeless are more likely to come to The Salvation Army, or another outreach center, out of necessity. Once they get there, we have teams of experts waiting to give them counseling, spiritual support, structured living and, most of all, love.

If you really want to help the homeless, there’s a better way to go about it by helping us. You can easily donate online now.

Or, if you still crave something more hands-on, you can create Blessing Bags. The bags are just like they sound – a plastic bag full of necessity items you keep in your car and give out whenever you pass someone living on the street or begging at intersections to meet their needs and bless them.



blessing bagSuggested Blessing Bag Items

Put in a gallon size bag any or all of these items:

  • Chap stick
  • Packages of tissues
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Comb
  • Soap
  • Hotel size shampoos
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Crackers
  • Pack of gum
  • Band aids
  • Mouthwash
  • Hand wipes
  • Warm pair of socks
  • Packet rain poncho
  • Hand warmers



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