Do You Give Money to Panhandlers?

With increased number of panhandlers spotted from Commack to Riverhead raising questions about scams, do you open your wallet or ignore them.

Panhandling, an activity common on many busy New York City street corners, has been increasingly common on Long Island triggering suspicion and cause for alarm. 

Three Village Patch reported in  that a local blog "She Thinks That..."  gave detailed reports of panhandler sightings on Aug. 29 and questioned if Long Islanders were being swindled by the "not-so-homeless." 

Many reported seeing a family that moved from outside Target in Commack to Walmart in Setauket, and further east, where a man, woman and children were holding signs and asking passers-by for money. 

Patch readers responded with hundreds of emails and comments, with reports of additional sightings and their gut emotional response to these panhandlers. 

Some of our readers have helped and given to these panhandlers

"Yes, i have helped a family husband wife [supposedly] and infant and child in hand standing by exit door of king kullen st james ny with a sign in need of help [money] for food and rental money so they wouldn't be living on the street your article on this matter just confirms my belief in second guessing my decision to help when it is a scam it is sad that you want to help but am being taken advantage of," commented .

Others reported sightings:

"Holy Cow! This exact same thing is going down right now at the Shopping Center I shop at in Yaphank! Guy with kids in tow holding a sign claiming he needs money for food & rent. What annoyed me was that he's standing in front of a store that has a huge "Help Wanted" sign in the window! Next time I see him there, you bet your ass I'll be calling the police," wrote . 

Some believed if local residents stopped giving these panhandlers their hard-earned cash, they will go away. 

 wrote," Come on people; stop feeling bad for these scammers. You work hard for your money. Stop handing it over to someone who should be doing the same! Instead of sitting in a shopping center for hours on end begging for money, they should be out all those hours looking for a job. I'm sorry but they get away with it because you are giving in and feeling bad. Well stop! Then they will go away!"

We'd like to ask, do you give to panhandlers? If so, are you more likely to give them cash or donate food/clothing? Do you refuse and point them towards local nonprofits? 

Tell us in the comments below. 

Mary Valentine September 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I saw a lady holding a baby outside of Notre Dame Church in New Hyde Park Labor Day weekend. She was holding a sign and a few of the ladies who came out of church gave her money. I thought that she should go in the church and speak to a priest. The church is there to help. I even said that to my aunt. I felt that is was a scam and was going to call the church and ask them if they knew she was there, but I didn't.
Rick September 13, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Actually, this is one of the oldest scams in the book. Many, many years ago, I saw this in Mexico too. The woman take their infants & sit in front of the subway station all day, collecting sympathy & money. Then they go to their nice house at the end of the day. We are now seeing this same thing here in So CA in front of the Wa-Mart and Target Stores. Also, at some grocery stores. As many readers have said, there are lots of jobs out there. But according to an article in NYC a few weeks ago, many of these pan handlers are making $60,000 a year collecting your hard earned money. If you've lived in NYC for any length of time, you will see the same pan handlers every day, for many, many, many years. The new scammers are using their kids to evoke sympathy & more cash than if they were working alone. Save your $$ and do not fall for this new scam.
Patronage Troll September 14, 2012 at 01:36 PM
No. I gave at the Receiver of Taxes office.
Neil Siri September 14, 2012 at 04:30 PM
ignore them


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