June 2, 2011

The next generation of Panhandlers...

     This is truly a gripe blog.  I really need someone to explain this new thinking to me.  Now years ago when we all lived in small tight communities.  When we all knew pretty much everyone.  When you were either from Xville or Xburg and were dang proud of it.  Back then under those circumstances  I understand everyone rallying around the town _____ (fill in the blank with a sport of your choosing) team and raising money to send them to state.  Jars would pop up on the counters around town for residents to drop their spare change in.  There was a sense of pride in helping send "our" team to state.
     However today it is a totally different story.  The kids who make up those teams that represent Xville or Xburg may not even live in that town.  There are a plethora of different tournaments and championships to choose from and it seems as if every single season there is a team from your town heading to a championship somewhere.
    When I grew up The Jerry Lewis Telethon was the mark that summer was over and school started any day.  The 7-11's had jugs out collecting change for Jerry's kids.  It was Labor Day Weekend so you knew you'd see Fire Fighters out with their boots collecting money at the intersections for Jerry's Kids.    In fact I remember one year watching to see the Long Island Press Carriers check being presented and being so proud I was a part of that.  Collecting money for the benefit of other children ..... it seemed so noble.
    I can't remember when it started maybe it was with the Children's Miracle Network we started seeing stores collect money for different charities and they'd decorate their walls with paper balloons, shamrocks or feet.  Even then customers gladly would add $1 $5 or $10 to their order to support these great causes.  Remember the first time you asked a cashier what their button YCJCYADFJK meant and smiling when you added a dollar to your order.?
   So WHEN did it become OK to pounce on these noble traditions and turn our children into panhandlers????  I seriously do no think I have been to a certain BOX STORE without someone asking me for money.  Sometimes it is for the Veterans ~ I'm OK with that, but I have to admit it can be a little sketchy.  Sometimes it is kids selling candy for school ~ I'm kinda okay with that.  And who doesn't get tired of being asked to buy Girl Scout Cookies or Boy Scout Popcorn during those seasons?
    What absolutely gets my goat is that people think it is OK to basically BEG strangers for money so that they can go on a trip.  Call it the State Championship, the Regional Playoff, heck even call it Pee Wee Olympics I don't care,  When I see you dressing your kids up in their uniforms holding buckets and asking strangers for money it is simply begging.  And then when they set up at major intersections and have patrols on all 4 sides basically team tagging cars as they're stuck at a light~~~ are you kidding me.  One time last summer there was a sports team and they had the parents working the corners proudly wearing shirts so we knew who their child was, while other parents and the kids were sitting in chairs watching TVs and grilling, I kid you not~~Truly only in America.
     Oh I  completely understand the cost of travel I do.  However asking someone to fund a trip so your family can go away for a weekend is crazy.  Why not be honest with the kids from the beginning of the year, we have this much money and if we want to go to Superville this is what we have to do to EARN the balance.  Look, we've been involved in sports and music programs that have required travel.  You never ever saw any of us begging outside a store for money.  We've had spaghetti dinners, bake sales, yard sales to raise money, one summer we had a "rent a kid" program.  You see that's another problem with this panhandling... We are teaching our kids that they can get something for nothing.  I can't tell you how many car washes I drive up to and give whatever change I have in my purse and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I especially do that when the kids have picked a really bad weather weekend.  How many of us give the kids with the candy bars the money and not take the candy?  I know I've bought cakes at bake sales for more than what I'd pay at Publix.  Why do we do this?  I believe it is because we see an effort.  We know the kids and their families are working together towards a goal.  We don't see hands out. We don't see kids wanting something for nothing. 
    I do think it tanks that any type of program that travels rules out the less financially blessed and I think there should be a way to correct that but I don't have the answer, sorry.
     In true disclosure I will address the letter we all get supporting some one's mission trip.  My daughter has sent them and has been blessed by them.  She also has written a thank-you note to everyone who supported her.  Not one letter was sent to a stranger (duh).  Nor did she stand on a corner asking people to put money in a bucket so she could go serve.  I also think the difference here is the purpose of the event.  A mission trip implies a sense of service of sacrifice.  As opposed to the opportunity to add another trophy to our collection.
   Hats off to a church whose name I don't remember.  They took over a major intersection last summer, one that we usually see some sports team begging for money at.  When they approached our car we were reluctant to roll the window down.  Then we realized they were handing out FREE bottles of water.  Do you know they wouldn't take any money when we offered it.  They said they simply wanted to bless the people of the area.
  That's what supporting your town should be about


  1. Bren,..I am just wondering if that is occuring in your town, because it is a small town, I live in a "big" city, and I have not experienced the people begging at intersections, I would find that insulting, if I had.
    Here in Phoenix, we do still have the jars in the 7-11's & such.
    What DOES annoy me is the door to door selling of magazines, candy bars etc. and when you tell them NO, they continue to beg, literally. I have shut the door on their faces, and felt a little bad, but, they REFUSE to accept NO, I CAN'T DO THIS RIGHT NOW. I definately feel there is no sense of community anymore, I remember growing up in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone, Here, neighbors do not care to know their neighbors, I make it a point of saying hello to my neighbors, and sometimes all I get back is a grunt! Times have changed, and not for the better!

  2. Kim,
    Thanks for your comment. Actually where we live isn't a small town that's just it. The reason they're allowed to do it is because Clay County hasn't passed a law banning panhandling. I do miss the sense of community..


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