You might have seen panhandlers at the regular locations either on 72nd & Dodge, 78th & Cass Street, NW Radial Hwy, etc. One of these thoughts might cross your mind:
"Is this legit?"
"How do I know they're not just gonna use that money for alcohol or drugs?"
"Why don't they get a job?"
"I'll give them money if they just go away."
No one wants to turn a blind eye to someone in need, but none of us have the time to find out who's really in need and who isn't.
Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ and my Christian upbringing, I have a hard time with it, too. I want to help without judging them but then think "couldn't my money be better spent donating to all the wonderful organizations here in Omaha that help homeless people"?
And that's when it hit me. Instead of giving a stranger money, I'd rather give them information that might help them get out of the situation that they're in. Those who truly need the information will use it and those who are just trying to make a quick buck, won't. Either way, I am attempting to give a hand-up instead of a hand-out...whatever said panhandler does with it, is up to them.
So I encourage you to print out 20 copies of the photo below and keep them in your glove compartment. When you get down to the last one, I encourage you to donate $20 to one of these organizations to help keep them around for those who truly need them.
If you have a better suggestion, I am all ears/eyes: firstname.lastname@example.org