While it is already a bad idea to hand out money to panhandlers in the area, there is a another reason not to: handing money from a moving car will become illegal in the city of Lebanon starting on March 11.
The measure was part of two measures passed by the city council designed to limit dangerous activities associated with panhandling. The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that the act of panhandling itself is protected free speech. So the council can’t outright ban the act.
The council; however, did ban aggressive panhandling: where the people asking for money are just not taking no for an answer and causing concerns for citizens’ wellbeing.
The measures were passed as a response to an increase in panhandlers in the area.
If you feel the need to give, there are much better organizations in the area to donate to. One example is the Lebanon Soup Kitchen, which is working to create a five-day a week dinner program. That program feeds anyone regardless of the person’s situation. If you give the soup kitchen money, they will turn that money into food.
A program that helps everyone eat, is much better than handing someone cash that they could spend on anything. Also, encouraging people not to panhandle, and instead seek help through the programs offered in the area should combat the problem of aggressive panhandlers.
But if you do run into a panhandler who is being aggressive toward you, call police, as that will become a misdemeanor starting on March 11.
If that person is being polite while panhandling, and not asking people topull over, that’s their right, but it’s our responsibility not to give them money.