Truly helping the needy

August 08, 2012

We must not overlook those truly less fortunate in our midst. However, the problem with giving money to panhandlers is you can’t be sure how your money will be used. Some who beg do very well, and make more money than those who work full-time who contribute to them.

There are, of course, several shelters and kitchens doing good work among the homeless and destitute in Edmonton East. None need go hungry.  Those panhandlers who say they need money for food are not being forthright. There are numerous free food sources in Edmonton, from full meals to food banks. You can support these agencies financially (receiving a tax credit for your donation), knowing that the money will be used to help those in need. The agencies could offer their supporters cards with instructions (times and shelter locations places) for free meals that could be given to the panhandlers instead of money.

If you want to directly support those living on the streets, you should consider purchasing a copy of Alberta Street News. The paper, started as Edmonton Street News in 2003 by editor Linda Dumont, is now the only remaining publication of its type in the province.

Alberta Street News provides its vendors with the pride and dignity of worthwhile endeavour. They buy their copies of the monthly paper at 50 cents each for resale, receiving an average $2 for each copy they sell. The profit is theirs. Some vendors stake out the same corner each month and have developed a regular clientele, while others move around the downtown core.

I support Alberta Street News because it provides a great alternative to panhandling, giving vendors the dignity of earning an income, while those purchasing the paper get good value by reading the articles about inner city and poverty issues.

What do you think?