Editor: After 35 years of living in this community, I find it is time to write in frustration and, yes, anger, about the “begging” that goes on among our young people.
These are not the street, or homeless people we encounter almost daily. No, these are fine young kids and it is about them I write, and the organizations in which they are involved.
They seem to choose the usual money venues, ie. the grocery store, where one would normally go to purchase the necessities of life; the drug store, (ditto) and the liquor store, wherein one could presumably find the same, if it were “for medicinal purposes only”.
Here’s the rub: They congregate, en masse, usually in the uniform of choice, ie. the Air Cadets, Sea Cadets, hockey, soccer, baseball. Well, you name it, they are all out there, with their “cap in hand,” as it were, begging for donations to their various causes.
They virtually swarm us as we go about our business, blocking access to the store, asking (loudly) if we would like to donate to the ______?
Upon being turned down, however politely, they will all together say, “Thanks anyway!”
I was accosted tonight at the liquor store, by a gang of young baseball players, with the same method of operation. I spoke to the manager of the store, who complained that they had been asked several times to avoid blocking the door and harassing the customers. He went out and spoke to them again.
Upon leaving, I found four of them standing in the laneway designated for cars to pass. I had to honk my horn to get them out of the way.
This is nothing short of intimidation and, if I may say so, a damn poor example of what we should be teaching our young people.
If they were to encounter a street person, sitting with hat in hand, begging for handouts, they would no doubt be almost programmed to see him or her as something less than a desirable human being; something to be scorned. Yet their coaches, trainers, and even their parents see fit to send these kids out to do exactly the same thing — beg for money. Nothing is offered in exchange (except for the Boy Scouts, bless them, with their apples).
It is just a handout that they seek.
I strongly urge the leaders of these worthy organizations to encourage their charges to do something to earn a donation.
Sell something, do something.
Wash a car, mow a lawn, clean up a street, take out some old person’s trash, collect cans or bottles, I don’t care. Just don’t stand around with a hat outstretched, a glove, a boot or a skate, asking for handouts.