Thursday, March 29, 2007

March 2007 Report

This isn't what you think. It's actually a deadly

drug in disguise. See below.


We have a warning for you that'll make you wiser when it comes to being "street smart." That's why all of the items in this month's issue deal with panhandling.

You see, panhandlers are on the prowl for something beyond basic necessities, even though their stories may tug at your heart strings.

They’ll typically ask you for spare change to make a phone call, catch a bus ride, wash their clothes or get something to eat.

But they're actually trying to feed some sort of desperate addiction that is probably destroying them -- like sniffing the contents of what you see in the picture above.

It's sad, but true. The can we found was empty. We fully believe it had been inhaled based on where we found it.


Panhandling is highly visible because it occurs in high-traffic locations like highway exit ramps, street corners and in front of frequently-visited stores and restaurants.

But the vast majority of homeless folks we’ve met over the past three years – far in excess of 99 percent – never asked for a dime. They're generally humble and gracious, and they know exactly where to go for shelter, clothing and showers.

For example, we served more than 140 people at our March 28 outreach. Out of that bunch, only man tried to hit us up for money.


We found hard data to illustrate just how many people routinely help panhandlers. A 2006 survey in Denver, Colorado, found that 42 percent of adults in that metro area gave money directly to panhandlers last year.

That "spare change" added up to $4.5 million. One Denver panhandler said he made $80 a day.

We've heard similar stories ourselves in Tulsa. We've met two of the men who pandhandler at the 71st St. exit ramp near Highway 169. One told us he made $60 in two hours one night.


Never ever give money to a panhandler, no matter how needy they look. Your gift will ultimately hurt them, not help.

It's perfectly ok to politely say "no" if you're ever approached by a panhandler. In fact, it's best to be firm and to keep moving.

There's no reason to feel guilty. You're actually helping by cutting off their access to cash. If everyone did that, it would force them to seek out services that would put them on the road to recovery.


We think it's absolutely great that you want to help the hungry and the homeless. Did you know that your desire reflects the heart of God?

The best way to help people in need is to direct your kindness and generosity to non-profits like ours who will use the funds to help homeless individuals toward a total life change.

So far in 2007, we've been handing out an average of 112 meals per week. It has already added up to more than 1,465 sack lunches this year. We also preach the gospel about Jesus every week to help give our crowds hope, love and acceptance.

You can also pray for the people you see on the streets. Pray that God will heal their hearts and hurts and minds. Pray that He will help them find good jobs.

More specifically, you can pray for a 66-year-old man named Doy who is battling emphysema. And for Matt, who simply needs to know that he is loved and that things can get better. We see both men often.