Please don’t give money to the panhandlers. If you give them money we will be overrun with them.

During Christmas I came across a man on King Street above Calhoun. He was dressed rather nicely and had reindeer antlers on his head. He stood just behind a building’s edge on a side street and as people approached he stepped out holding his business license in one hand and a cup for money in the other. “Merry Christmas. God bless you,” he greeted people.

On the way back from my errand he was still at the corner. He unabashedly showed me his license. When I asked what it was for, he answered, “For my singing!” “But you aren’t singing,” I said. “I am taking a break,” he answered.

He evidently had a business license to panhandle and he had a lot of money in his cup with a $20 bill showing. I had, in fact, noticed a couple putting that bill in his cup as I approached.

I have over the years when I had some extra money in my pocket given it to beggars. I had a woman come to my door and ask for money for back-to-school clothes for her children.

It was unfortunate for her, but I recognized her from her stints jumping out from the fast-food places. She actually needed money, but not for any children.

The people who live on our streets are unfortunate people. There are street people and people who stay at the homeless shelter. These people need help.

The people who do not need help, however, are those who have picked up on the idea that instead of a job they can stand at intersections with a cardboard sign that reads “Hungry.”

If you give them money they will never go away, and the people who actually need help will never get it.

Please refrain from enabling people to take from the poor. Give your money instead to Crisis Ministries or the Food Bank or to the Salvation Army. Tell the panhandlers firmly, “No. I will not support your doing this!”

Jo Cannon

Ashley Avenue

Charleston