The hardest part is that most people feel like they want to do something, but we don’t know what to do.  Regardless of what’s on the sign, when we see a beggar, we see a story……and a story that needs to be told.  There’s not enough time at a busy intersection to ask questions, so people can either pull over and talk, or they can continue to flow with the traffic.  There’s nothing like a beggar in the most obvious locations to force us to engage with the issue.

America is the most wealthy and generous Country in history.  We are so wealthy, we get asked for money all the time.  Most of us who shop are routinely asked if we want to donate so some cause.  Yet, even with all our benevolent efforts, it seems like the problem is getting bigger everyday.

There’s always more to the story.  Unless you park your car and walk over to the beggar, there’s no time to hear the story that precipitated them begging on a street corner.   Sometimes they put, “Veteran”,”Pregnant” or “Hungry” on their signs to elicit a more generous response, but it is impossible to verify if this is true and often it is not.  We cannot even assume all of them are homeless.  Guaranteed, if a woman is pregnant, she didn’t get that way on her own.  If her sign is true, there’s a man who needs to be the one to keep the roof over her head.  Without a conversation, we don’t know what’s causing this problem.  Without understanding the cause, we cannot know the solution.

Begging is an act of desperation.  It pulls on our heartstrings, wondering what we would do if we were in that same situation.  What happened to bring this person to the point where he or she thought this was the only answer?  Clearly, we cannot solve the problem by throwing money at it.    We all would like to eliminate poverty, but we would be wise to ask questions.  Begging is a symptom.  The cure can’t be found until we can identify the root problem.

Jesus said we will always have the poor among us, so if the goal is to eradicate poverty, that will never happen.  What are we supposed to do?  In the Bible we hear a story of how Peter handled it.  He said, “I don’t have any silver and gold for you, but I’ll give you what I have.”  The beggar was healed.  Isn’t that better anyway?

What do you do when you see a beggar?




1.)  Listen to our podcast with the president of Pacific Garden Mission and be inspired by his insights.  We need to know the right answers to solve this problem.
 You can find our latest podcast here.

2.)  If you want to help the homeless, find an organization that is addressing the root issues and donate to it.  Research what Pacific Garden is doing to make a difference here:

3.)  Be inspired by others who tell their stories on the show, “Unshackled”.  You can hear about changed lives here:

4.)  The Home Front newsletter and podcast continues. Your involvement to fund our ongoing efforts, research and equipment will make a difference. If you want to continue to support us in this effort to promote integrity in government, you can mail your check to this address:

Cynthia Davis
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Have you ever sat at a red light and watched someone standing in front of you with a cardboard sign saying, “Veteran” or “Pregnant” and wondered what you’re supposed to do?  On today’s show we visit with Paul Kwiatkowski, President of Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest homeless shelter in the Country.

Click Here to Listen

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  • George Thompson

    There is an intersection a few miles from my house that I intersect often. For years, during the day, it has been staffed by the same team of beggars. I have heard from several people that these beggars are prospering and well-managed by a team overseer. Can’t verify this allegation, but I have witnessed an apparent shift change. Despite their desperation, these beggars do not appear to be in declining health or missing any meals. Nevertheless, I recall that Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of us, we do for him. Who am I to judge whether or not these beggars are among the least of us? So what I do depends on traffic. If it is safe for me to stop, lower my window, and I have some cash to spare, I will hand it to the beggar on duty. If it is not safe, or would create a traffic jam, I simply wave and keep going. The beggars working this intersection seem to have genuine visible afflications, but they are polite and friendly. I have never heard them curse those who ignore them. My recommendation for those reluctant to provide them any help, remember that a smiling wave of the hand is free, No matter how many of those we freely give to others, our supply will never diminish until hopefully someday as we approach the Pearly Gates we will be greeted with a smile and a wave by Our Lord and Savior. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Bill

    I often see these people with cardboard signs wherever there is the most traffic. Wal-Mart exits and exit ramps from Interstate highways. Any place where there are red stop lights & drivers have to stop. The strategy seems to force you to read the signs when you are forced to stop as the light changes to red. Before the pandemic, they were seen at the same time “help wanted” signs were in store windows. I generally distrust these “panhandlers” as being out for some easy money. One time I seen a young man going through a trash can in the Wal-Mart parking lot. He approached me for some money. I gave him a couple of dollars but was careful that he didn’t grab my wallet. He could have easily outran me if he grabbed it. I thought at one time “panhandling” was an illegal activity. I don’t see police doing anything about it. I probably sound like a stingey, uncaring, scrooge but I think panhandlers play on sympathy of others. There are organizations like Salvation Army, Red Cross and others that supplement section 8 housing and food stamps. Churches have been known to help those with genuine need. Many workers are asked to contribute to “United Way” under some pressure. This year the Pandemic has created some issues where hard working people have been furloughed from their paychecks. I believe in helping these people as much as possible.

  • Kevin Fischer

    I always feel the want to help. I never do anymore. I see people always at Kingshighway and I-64 exits and entrances. I see people almost always at Cave Springs exit, both sides.

    What bothers me is years ago I gave a woman, who was with her daughter under the water tower, $20. Later that day or days later there was a news story of her working that and her husband elsewhere on 94 with their son. They were making $3000 per week.

    My friend, a cab driver, once gave a guy $10 and some McDonalds. I don’t know where it was. But later that night he had a call to deliver cigarettes, beer, and nuts (all name brand). When he arrived and delivered his $75 +/- order the same man was counting a wad of money and change on his bed. Apparently didn’t recognize him, so didn’t flinch.

    I’m often tempted to just give something like a McDonalds gift certificate so they can eat. About a month ago I went to the McD’s at Mid Rivers Mall Drive and 364/94. A woman and her 2 kids were near the entrance. I saw several give them something. I wanted to buy a $5 gift card but they were out. I happened to be back there the next day. Same woman and one kid were there. They had a ton of McD food by them. The other child was walking toward Commerce Bank nearby but they went to Bread Co first. Came back to Commerce and got into a vehicle with a man in it. She carried a big bag from Bread Co and two drinks. Dad appeared to be counting money.

    It kind of turns me off on helping out.

  • Bernie Davis

    There are people who have serious need and there are homeless people who don’t beg. There is a tension between wanting to help and knowing that sometimes our efforts to help can hurt these people by sustaining them in their problems instead bringing them out.
    Supporting organizations or individuals that personally minister to these people is my best option to really care for them. Pacific Garden Mission has a great track record helping people in Chicago and First Steps Back Home helps people in the St. Charles, St. Louis area. There are also individuals who minister to these people. I find supporting these ministries the best option for caring for these people.

  • Theresa Lintzenich

    Most of the time when I see a beggar, I pass them by.
    I know of a lady who was in benevolence ministry who asked people who she didn’t know who begged her for food or money…. “Can you do something for us in return for the help we give you?” Whether it is organizing something or pulling weeds, most people can do something.
    She really believed in the verse that Paul said to lazy people “If they don’t work, don’t let them eat.”
    This is the way you she weeded out the “leaches”.
    I don’t mean anything bad by this, because I have been lazy at times. We all need a kick in the butt sometimes.
    Work brings dignity to a person. Work is a blessing rather than a curse.
    Thanks for hearing me out and thank you for your emails!
    -Theresa Lintzenich

    Ps-If you’d like a good photographer for anything, let me know. I do photography.

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