Just about everyone has experienced this. You’re driving and approach a stoplight. Someone is standing there with a cardboard sign, with a compelling message on why you should give them some of your hard-earned money. The thought goes through your mind, is this for real or a scam?
Here are two scams. A lady in the parking lot of a big box store with a stuffed bear and a sign saying, “Mother and child needs help.” Yes, she’s a mother, but her child is in her 30’s living in a distant city doing fine. A man I know sits at the entrance of a discount store with American flags on his chair and a sign saying, “Homeless Vet needs help.” The truth is that he has a place to stay and he’s never served in the military.
A movie came out in 1997 called “Liar Liar”, staring Jim Carrey. It was about an attorney who lied so much that his child, during his birthday party, made a wish while blowing out the candles, that his dad would only tell the truth. It was billed as a fantasy comedy.
Wouldn’t it be great to know if the person asking you for money was really going to benefit from your gift rather than using it to support their addiction?
A couple of suggestions. Buy some fast food gift cards and give them to people who say they’re hungry. Or purchase some $5.00 cards from the Bread of Life that can be exchanged for clothes or other items. When someone comes to the RESTORE Thrift store, our staff point out many other services that they can get for free, including dinner every night if they’re sober and drug free, referrals, and free counseling.