To the woman I have seen on several occasions around Sandy Springs holding a sign that indicates you are stranded and need money you need to work on your schtick.

I don’t begrudge anyone for being down on their luck, but when you keep showing up in the same community over a period of several days, in different locations and dressed differently, the act wears a little thin.

You don’t appear stranded. It looks like you have a place to go home to, clean clothes to change into and a place to clean up. You don’t look like life has dealt you bad cards.

No street cred, sis.

Now I can understand why some folks may think this is a good area for, shall I say, independent personal fundraising. Our little corner of God’s Country is a pretty affluent community. Homes here typically have six-figure price tags and some are in the mid-seven-figure ranges.

I guess the word is out on this, based on the number of people I’m starting to see around town holding their cardboard signs begging for money. Progress there’s just no stopping it.

So you might be interested in knowing that our bright and shiny new mayor and city council will be forming a police force over the next few months, which means they’ll be thinking how to best address the issue of folks soliciting spare change. As in addressing the issue through the passing of laws.

At the same time I’m hopeful they’ll come to terms with real solutions to identify and help people who are actually down and out. Whether we call them homeless or street people or displaced, these are people who need our compassion and help.

What we don’t need now, or in the future, are people who have chosen to supplement their income by begging.

First, it’s just wrong.

Second, you divert money from people who really need it to get through the day. People with kids who consider regular meals, clean clothes and hot baths a luxury.

Most important, you blunt our compassion through your continued abuse of it. We get cynical because we don’t know if our spare change is going to buy a needed meal, or go into the pocket a two-bit grifter.

Please find another scam, OK?

One final suggestion during the holiday season. It’s never too late to change for the better. The next time you’ve filled your pockets with money that could actually help someone who needs it, find a Salvation Army bucket to drop it into.

I’m guessing my suggestion may be wishful thinking, but while I’m smart enough to see through your buffalo feathers, I’m naive enough to think people can change for the better.

 
 
 
 

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