PHOENIX — A Valley pastor said it’s always good to help those in need, but not donating if you get a strange vibe is acceptable.
“We’re instructed by scriptures to be giving and to be benevolent, but I don’t think that means that we should be brain dead,” said Pastor John Brown of Calvary Chapel Central Phoenix.
If it looks like the person really needs help, then Brown said to “give him a buck or two,” but be aware that some panhandlers are fraudulent.
“In our day and age, there are more people out there who are just using that as a way to make a living, rather than really needing the money,” he said.
Brown learned firsthand that not every panhandler is willing to earn any money that you give them. His church used to be near the Greyhound bus station at 27th and Glendale avenues, and people would constantly come to the church asking for money for a bus ticket. Many times, he promised to help them if they would agree to do some work for the church.
“I would say that nine out of 10 people would not show up the next day for work in order to earn the ticket.”
Panhandlers continue to be an issue around the city, but police officers have no legal recourse to remedy the problem.
Cops have their hands tied when it comes to a spike in the number of beggars in Phoenix.
“Part of the reason is because of the challenges we have legally on what we can do or enforce,” said Phoenix Police Sergeant Steve Martos.
Unless someone breaks any other law, panhandlers are free to beg for money on city streets since it is an act protected under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
As the problem worsens, department leaders aren’t releasing details, but they are looking for options to stop the activity.
However, if someone comes to you and says they need money for a meal, Brown said a good way to handle it is to offer to take them into a fast food restaurant and pay for their meal, instead of giving them money. That way you make sure you’re helping them solve their hunger needs instead of giving them money that they may instead use to buy alcohol or drugs.
Brown noted that many times when you offer to pay for the meal, the panhandler may refuse that and tell you he just wants the money, a possible indication that the person isn’t being honest.
Brown said if you don’t feel the urge to give them money, don’t feel guilty.
“Scripture said the poor we will always have amongst us, and that we should give to them and help as we feel led, not necessarily because we feel obligated.”
But Brown said if you do feel guilty after driving off, that may be a sign that someone is telling you that the person really does need help, and that you should turn around, go back and help.
KTAR’s Sandra Haros contributed to this report.
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.