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Many decades ago, I lived in a small 4th floor walk-up room with three other students near our college in Philly. The spacious first floor apartment below us was occupied by a legless beggar and his dog. Daily they went downtown and sat outside by a busy department store entrance. He wore an old Army uniform with campaign ribbons and cap, holding a tin cup. He told me he made about $50 daily, good money in those days.

However, in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, he proudly bragged that his tin cup runneth over with more than $500 daily. The same applies today, when the homeless and other beggars get the most hand-outs from kindly holiday-minded passers-by.

Homelessness is a growing problem. For example, in Los Angeles there are more than 44, 000 on the streets in 2019, up from 39,000just one year ago. It’s almost certain to get worse in 2020. If travels take you to Los Angeles and other large US cities during the holidays, you’ll encounter many unfortunate street beggars.

You may give them cash, not realizing much to be spent for illegal drugs and booze. You’ll do it more effectively if you donate that money to qualified agencies that work daily to help the homeless, including the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

 
 
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