Homelessness and Boise Rescue Mission

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Mario Villalpando
Professor Chastaine
English 102: Essay #2 Draft
October 15, 2012
Give to the Solution, Not the Problem
Imagine this, you’re on your way to work. As you drive down Broadway you see that a local organization has set up a canned food drive to help raise food for those in need. Not thinking too much about it, other then you have no canned foods on you, you keep driving to school. As you approach the next stop light you see the Boise State cheerleaders are holding signs that read, “Car Wash $2.00.” You don’t need your car washed so you continue to drive. But right before you get to school you see a homeless person holding a sign that says “Will work for food.” You finally arrive at school and make it to class on time. After noticing all of these things which people do you think were panhandling? All three of these people were doing the same thing, asking for money or food. To understand which group was panhandling you must first understand what panhandling is. Panhandling means to solicit an individual on a street or in another public place; and by requesting an immediate donation of money or something else of value. (Scott) The cheerleaders and the organization were doing a type of fundraising to benefit their group or their cause, while the homeless man was only trying to benefit himself. There are also different types of panhandling such as passive panhandling and aggressive panhandling. Panhandlers in the Boise area are typically not homeless, and while giving money to a stranger may seem charitable there are safer and better alternatives to help those in need. According to the, “Problem with Panhandling” by Michael Scott, “Panhandling is a common term in the United States, more often referred to as ”begging“ elsewhere, or occasionally, as ”cadging.“ ”Panhandlers“ are variously referred to as ”beggars,“ ”vagrants,“ ”vagabonds,“ ”mendicants,“ or ”cadgers.“ The term ”panhandling“ derives either from the impression created by someone holding out his or her hand (as a pan’s handle sticks out from the pan) or from the image of someone using a pan to collect money (as gold miners in the American West used pans to sift for gold).” The information by Michael Scott helps you better realize why fundraising and panhandling are not the same. As mentioned before, there are generally two types of panhandling: passive and aggressive. Passive panhandling is soliciting for money or goods without a threat, and usually no words at all. These are the people you see holding the signs or a simply just a cup. Aggressive panhandling is soliciting using threats or verbal abuse, in some cases if the there are extreme acts of aggression it is no longer aggressive panhandling and is now considered robbery. (Scott) Panhandlers vary in their looks, ages, and come in all sizes. A study titled, “ Panhandling: A Street Study” was done to find the demographics of panhandlers to help better understand who does it and why they do it. Ken Armstrong was the leader of the project and was chosen because of his abilities to connect with the homeless. Mr. Armstrong interviewed 45 people on the streets in a city nearly the same size as Boise. Of those interviewed, 85 percent were men and 15 percent were women. Ages ranged between 25 and 64. More than half had never been married. Only five had completed grade 12. None of the respondents had any form of full-time or part-time employment. (Armstrong) While conducting this study Mr. Armstrong had many key findings and themes associated with panhandling. In his report he concluded that, “In total, 44 of the 45 interviewed said they had no home. Only one respondent said he shared a dormitory accommodation in a city shelter. The length of time spent on the street varied considerably. One respondent said he’d been panhandling for 15 years; others for a few months. The average was around four years. Most respondents panhandle on a daily basis. Busiest time of day: between 4.30 pm and 10 pm. Best days:...
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