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February 28, 2014 - Heather Ziegler
Anyone traveling about the Ohio Valley has to have noticed the men, and on occasion, the women, standing along interstate ramps seeking money. Even in these bitterly cold days, you can find a guy with a sign seeking "any amount." Most of the signs indicate the

person is homeless, sometime a veteran, too.

On occasion, they will have a dog with them which adds to the tug of heartstrings. I know people have very specific opinions when encountering the panhandlers. Some refuse to acknowledge they even see them standing next to their cars while waiting for the light to

change. I've even heard people yell at them to "get a job!"

Others make a point to pass a few dollars into the hands of the man or woman with the sign. I asked one man in particular if he had a

place to sleep because it was a really cold night even if he was dressed warmly. He said he has been sleeping at the YSS Sleep Shelter in

Wheeling but it doesn't open until 10 p.m. each night. If you've ever driven past the Sleep Shelter entrance in the early evening, you will

find several men huddled there, waiting to be allowed in.

The homeless man said he is fed at the soup kitchen and often finds comfort and warmth by day at the Catholic Diocese's 18th Street

Center. He is a veteran down on his luck but did not care to go into details.

Whatever reason brings these people to the corners of our lives, it's a personal decision whether to provide them with money.

How do you handle the situation?


Article Comments



Mar-13-14 9:57 AM

You can bet your granny's garters that these people receive a government check. Let's see them knocking on doors offering to do yard work or wash cars or windows. That would impress me, but you won't see that because the world owes them a living.


Mar-03-14 1:31 PM

Panhandlers vs. Some charities. Charities are tax deductable.


Mar-03-14 2:42 AM

I don't judge all because of one experience but here is one i had a few years back. there was a guy who hung the I 470 ramp in south wheeling years back. I traveled it every day to work. always had a sign that said will work for food and a can to put money in. I was coming home from work one afternoon and had a very busy week. I needed to get my grass cut and a lot of other yard work because I was way behind and work wasn't slowing down any. So I stopped. He held up the can. I told him to get in because i could use hand for a few hours doing some yard work. He walked away.


Mar-02-14 3:57 AM

I've panhandlers in Pittsburgh can make upwards of $70k a year. It is "work".


Mar-01-14 7:09 PM

A panhandler approached me in a parking lot in a Burger King and asked if I can "spare some change for food?"

I said "Sure, lets go into the Burger King together and I will buy you whatever you want on the menu"

He just walked away to the next sucker.


Mar-01-14 10:21 AM

People and situations aren't always what they appear to be. For example, research the panhandler Dobri Dobrev. See here for more: ***********viralnova****/compassionate-homeless-person/ and ***********snopes****/photos/people/dobrev.asp


Mar-01-14 10:14 AM

Honestly, I don't know nor can I control whether they use the money I give them to buy drugs or alcohol. I do know, however, that God has put a deep ache in my heart every time I see someone in need like that. I keep a stack of small New Testament Bibles in the car and usually some cold weather gear from Goodwill. Depending on how much time there is (moving or at a red light), I'll put some cash in a Bible and give that to them along with gloves or whatever cold weather gear I can reach. I also make it a point to look the person in the eye (everyone needs to be acknowledged as a person), shake his or her hand, ask for his or her name, tell them I will be praying for them by name, and pray regularly for God's mercy and the He uses the interaction as He will.


Mar-01-14 10:05 AM

I challenge anyone who believes that all homeless people are drunks or drug addicts to volunteer at the YSS Winter Freeze Shelter. You will find out that the belief is not true. You will meet people who work everyday and sleep at the shelter. People who for whatever reason want housing but are denied for various reasons. These people will break your heart when they share their stories of hardship. These are people who are grateful for help that they cannot repay. So when I give money to a person panhandling on the side of the road I think it's between them and God what they do with that money. I am called to help, not to judge. The reality is that most American's are two to three missed paychecks from being homeless. Please come volunteer and meet some amazing people and ask about the stories of success where people have been helped and are no longer homeless and panhandling. It will soften your heart.


Feb-28-14 7:58 PM

My brother-in-law (a veteran himself) offered to drive a "homeless veteran" to the vet center for help in finding a job and a place to stay. The panhandler cussed him out and said, "Forget it." All he wanted was cash.

Feb-28-14 7:02 PM

Well people tend to give these guys money to make themselves feel good about themselves. Giving them cash money is like giving them a loaded gun. It is not going to feed a family it will go to drugs and alcohol. Thats why they need cash. There are a bouquet of feel good groups that serve the homeless, none need go hunry none need sleep outside. None need clothes, none need to go without taking a bath or shaving. They solicit cash to get loaded and then could die by passing out under a bridge in weather like this. I am sure you talking about the ones who frequent the Wash Ave exit. A counselor told me that they know that there are people there who give money and thats why you see differnt ones there. They are not from that area, they walk out from E. Wheeling because its a good place to score some cash. It may tug at your heart but giving them money could kill them & frustrates the efforts to keep them alive. It literally could kill them.


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