Begging For Change On The Streets
Boston City Councilor Maureen Feeney is making a push to limit street soliciting, according to today’s Globe:
Feeney said she would like to institute regulations similar to those in Chicago. Charitable organizations there have to apply for permits to solicit funds, and they have to specify dates and intersections.
”I know for a lot of groups they really do need to solicit,” Feeney said. ”But there should be some mechanism in place to know whether solicitors are representing real organizations or whether it’s just a couple of kids with cans.”
This is an excellent idea, and one that is long overdue. In fact, I’d like to see it extended beyond the streets and on to the sidewalks. Panhandlers are a fact of life in any big city, including Boston, and true charities should almost never be limited in where and how they can solicit donations.
But few things get to me more than seeing groups of kids running around begging strangers for donations to their track or swim team. Haven’t they ever heard of booster clubs?
When I was in school, we had fundraisers to support our extracurricular activities. If we needed new uniforms or equipment or funds to travel to a regional tournament, we’d suck it up and go door-to-door, selling candy, or wrapping paper, or even fresh fruit. It was hard work, but it was honest and we never failed to raise enough money. I don’t think I could have imagined standing on a street corner begging passersby for change.
Feeney definitely has the right idea. Putting limitations on soliciting is the first step toward moving these poor kids into true fundraising, and away from begging.