Change of heart needed

These ‘beggars’ are human beings who are asking for help.

I also disagree with the recent letter titled, “Enforcement Needed” where the author requested that bylaw enforcement needs to “get rid of beggars soliciting funds in front of downtown stores” and suggested that if these people can afford to smoke, then they shouldn’t need to beg.

Rather than enforcement, I suggest that a change of heart is needed. These ‘beggars’ are human beings who are asking for help.

Whether these ‘beggars’ choose this lifestyle or not, it is a sub-standard way of life. Unfortunately, some of these people turn to drugs and alcohol as an ‘escape’ from the rugged lives they’re living and they get caught in a vicious cycle. Let’s not blame these victims of such circumstances.

If you don’t want to give these people money, then consider alternative ways to help. I give them food and gift cards to nearby restaurants where they can come in from the elements and have a meal.  Why not invite one of these people to go for a soup and sandwich with you?

I challenge people who see ‘beggars’ as an inconvenience, to see the bigger picture.  A song by Matthew West says, “In my own little world it hardly ever rains. I’ve never gone hungry and always felt safe. I’ve got some money in my pocket and shoes on my feet. In my own little world. Population: Me.” The song goes on to describe what happens when you start looking into the eyes of a street person; how you’ll actually notice the face of a human.

While removing ‘beggars’ would make some people’s shopping experiences downtown more pleasant, it doesn’t solve the problems that ‘beggars’ face. A change of heart will go a long way toward helping these less fortunate people.  You’d be surprised how wonderful it feels to give. I challenge everyone to find out…and then ask yourself who benefited more– you or them?

J. Werk, Vernon