It’s easy to hand out money to someone on the street, but think about what you’re doing!
Many of those living on the streets have other places to stay, but choose to remain on the streets in order to pay for and feed their substance use disorder and to earn an easy living.
By handing out cash, you’re often handing out a problem. To the person with a substance dependency, to those walking by who have to deal with antisocial behaviour, to the cleaning teams who often get called out to clean up human waste and mess, to law enforcement and SAPS officials who have their time taken up attending to petty crime and bylaw violations and to the shop owners who have premises on the busy streets of Observatory where those living on the streets tend to congregate.
Similarly, it’s easy to feed people, but sometimes these schemes contribute to the attractiveness of a suburb as a place to get an easy meal every day of the week. If you’re running a feeding scheme or wanting to start one, think about why you’re doing it.
There are already a number of established feeding schemes in the area, Loaves and Fishes, Breaking Bread, New Hope, the Pasta Factory, Youth Solutions Africa as well as some business run feeding schemes.
Some of these existing schemes offer additional services and referrals (to shelters, rehab programmes and other social services). Consider supporting the existing schemes through donations of cash, food items, items of clothing or toiletry items. You can also donate your time and/or your expertise to these organisations.