The Wichita Police Department has launched a campaign to discourage residents from giving money to panhandlers. The department released a video this week outlining other ways to help people in need.
In the new video, the WPD says there are right ways to help—but cash can often worsen problems with drug and alcohol addiction that can lead to homelessness. Instead, they say people can give their support to organizations that provide assistance to people who are homeless.
Carolyn Kell with Interfaith Ministries says her organization tells people never to give money to anyone who panhandles.
“It’s very difficult to come up against somebody who looks like they’re in need and not want to help, so I think that it is a genuine response, and a natural response," she says. "It’s just whether it’s the right response.”
She says instead of cash, people can give out information cards for local shelters or homeless service agencies (available at the Interfaith Ministries office at 829 N. Market). She also suggests keeping energy bars, bottles of water and gift cards for fast food in the car to give in place of cash.
Resources are available by calling the United Way’s 211 hotline.
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