Who Are These People?

The panhandler situation in Tampa is getting even worse this year. They are getting bolder, hungrier, and more “persuasive.” No, I’m not talking about homeless people.

I’m talking about droves of “charity” workers. Who are these people? They come in two main varieties around our part of town:

  • women dressed in some sort of funky 1940’s nursing uniforms with buckets and no indication of their charity
  • men in shirts and ties with buckets marked “Help Homeless Children of America”

Let’s start with what I know about the situation. They used to be satisfied to walk up and down the median. No longer good enough, they walk up the middle of double turn lanes and don’t get out of the way so you zoom past them at 45 mph with 9″ to spare to get through a long light. They frequently walk in front of your hood and stare you down. They will walk right up to your window and look in to see if your peripheral vision is broken. Regarding the first group mentioned, two weeks ago I witnessed a collector who was glad to stay put in the median, however she was clapping, singing, and turning in circles. Yeah… I’m giving you money.

Secondly, what homeless kids in America need donations on the street like this? Homeless children are accompanied by their parents or are considered orphans. Have orphanages sunk this low for raising money? Homeless children are almost always going to be in a shelter with one or more parent or they are in the foster care system because their parents are homeless and our government cares so much about kids that they won’t allow them to sleep on the streets with their parents. So don’t give me this bull about the money in your bucket going to homeless children in America. What’s the money really going to be spent on? Your salary? Your spiritual leader’s 3rd car or second divorce? I’d like to see your 501(c) and your financials.

The mayor needs to put an end to these types of fund-raising. I know you can’t stop all of the homeless people and people on hard times, but these organized groups of 2, 4, and 8 collectors has got to stop.