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a different type of beggar

(41 Posts)
Fennel Thu 02-Nov-17 13:19:32

I was taken aback this morning when a young girl came up to me, while walking in a nearby town, and asked for money . For food for her dog., which she had on a lead. She looked 14 at the most, a tiny little thing.
I said to her, you're too young to be doing this, where is your family?
She opened her jacket and I saw she was about 6 months pregnant.
So I gave her some money - not a lot.
Later I was at the supermarket, and there she was buying a large bag of rice, oats etc, which some people feed their dogs here (cooked.)
The dog was outside with a young man, presumably the girl's boyfriend.
I wanted to help her out more but they left before I'd paid.
What would you have done? Is it wise to get involved in that kind of situation?

grannysue05 Thu 02-Nov-17 13:54:57

She may have been buying the rice and oats for herself...if she was very poor. The dog may have been useful to encourage people to "give".
Hard to say if she was genuinely hard up. Had you had more time to talk to her, you may have had more of an instinct as to her real situation.
If she looked really down and out, I think if you could afford a few pounds, it would have been a lifeline for her.
Maybe you will come across her again.

Smithy Thu 02-Nov-17 15:11:13

I never know whether to give or not - it's very difficult to judge if there's a genuine need.

MaggieMay60 Thu 02-Nov-17 15:39:16

I never give money, only food, I have in the past taken a young homeless girl into a supermarket and bought her some essentials to get her through a difficult time. Yes, I may have been played for a fool but sometimes you have to trust a person's word and know one knows what life has in store for us. if I have it I will share it!

Serkeen Thu 02-Nov-17 15:57:57

At least she did spend the money on dog food and not drugs or cigarettes etc

It is a difficult one I can see that you would want to help but maybe see if you do see more of them in the coming days to be able to make a better judgement of the situation

Perhaps if you see her again you can let her know about all of the many organisations that would help such a person on the streets

Fennel Thu 02-Nov-17 17:25:16

Thanks for the replies.
This was in France, and I don't know about the charities here who help pregnant teenagers. I'll have to try to find out.
I do know that the laws about unemployment benefit are much tougher here than in the UK. Can't imagine them getting much from the 'Social.'
OTOH she looked healthy and didn't seem to be sleeping rough.
I will definitely look out for them, and try to find out more about sources of help.
I had that feeling - there for the grace of God could have been one of my family.

downtoearth Thu 02-Nov-17 20:24:32

Yes I would help ..have done this with a young homeless man who I had spoken to on several occasions he seemed genuine and I got to know some of his back story

paddyann Fri 03-Nov-17 00:03:22

beggars aren't always rough sleepers,there are a multitude of folk whose benefits have been cut or who are waiting on the change to UC who beg to try to make up enough cash to pay their rent.I watched a programme about homelessness last week and many were families where the main breadwinner had lost his/her job and they were turfed out of their homes.No address means no benefits ...and sofa surfing doesn't give them a permanent address.They beg to get food for their kids ...until the council can get aroof over their head.It was quite shocking that people are treated this way in the 21st century

Morgana Fri 03-Nov-17 09:59:53

If I don't give I feel guilty for weeks.

Fennel Fri 03-Nov-17 10:30:46

Me too Morgana.
But I have a friend who doesn't agree with giving to them. We nearly fell out over it.
I haven't asked her yet what she would have said to this young lass.

Tessa101 Fri 03-Nov-17 10:40:42

Yes I do give but not always, I trust my judgement. As others say I sometimes buy them a takeaway ie Golden Arches or meal deal it really depends on the moment. My DD always says when we are out together in London,mum, don’t give money just buy food as they may spend it on drink and drugs.There for the grace of god!.

W11girl Fri 03-Nov-17 10:48:37

I give once, but I don't get involved as I just don't know where it could lead. I work with a young girl at the moment who has been sent to us from the job centre. The job ends at Christmas and try as she might she has been unable to get a job. I look for jobs for her as well, but I don't tell her in case she starts to lean on me and she becomes my responsibility! She has a family but they don't seem to care!

Telly Fri 03-Nov-17 10:56:30

There are numerous rough sleepers, including women, in our town. The authorities tell people not to give them money as it goes on drugs, but I have to say I am not comfortable with this but equally don't know what to do. You did the right thing, at least you did not cross to the other side when you received an appeal for help. She did buy food, so that is something. Part of a much greater problem.

Sparklefizz Fri 03-Nov-17 11:31:05

My daughter and I passed a young woman sitting on the pavement begging on a bitterly cold day and I didn't want to give her money as it looked likely that she would spend it on drugs or alcohol, so we went into a nearby shop and I bought her a woolly hat, scarf and gloves set, and took it back to her. She said thank you, but when we passed her an hour later, she wasn't wearing any of it and looked absolutely frozen. Perhaps people were less likely to give anything if she was sitting there well wrapped up, or perhaps she was going to sell them for drugs .... I still think about her years later as she must have been around my daughter's age. Such a tragedy.

kazziecookie Fri 03-Nov-17 11:42:40

I have just signed a petition against South Teeside who are making it illegal to give food and drink in the street. It results in a £100 fine (I think for the beggar).
I think this is dreadful and if I want to give someone some food why shouldn’t I.
On the thing about them being genuine, would you sit out on the street in all weathers just to get a free sandwich, I certainly wouldn’t by choice.
I also think if I was living on the streets I would turn to drink to make life more bearable.
In my early twenties I nearly ended up homeless myself and it could happen to anyone.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Fri 03-Nov-17 12:00:27

No I'm sorry, but I wouldn't have given any money. In my nearest large city there was a problem with aggressive begging which has largely calmed down now, due to efforts from the police, etc. Many beggars are not genuine.
I was once approached unpleasantly by a young woman with a dog. "Give me some money," she insisted aggressively whilst stamping her foot in front of me.
I responded quickly in the heat of the moment.
"No, f&*k off," and I stamped back.
The look on her face as her jaw hit the ground was priceless. I expect she thought that I would be easy to intimidate as I'm small and was by myself.
She then said her dog hadn't eaten all day so I told her that she should have thought of that earlier, not my problem, etc. Yes, I'm a nice person and it was probably harsh of me. I do feel sorry for genuinely homeless people but I don't like being taken for a ride.

glammanana Fri 03-Nov-17 12:13:31

On Saturday last I met my friend as usual for coffee in our small shopping centre and was sitting next to 2 men who where chatting about one of them being homeless and unable to find help for a permenent studio or flat,he looked very cold and down and out and my heart went out to him as O slowly realised he was a former pupil at my senior school yrs ago.
My friend and I intervened into the conversation with suggestions for him which he refused to be interested in and he also refused the offer of a meal and hot drink so wher would you go from there as I was not going to give him money as he obviously had a drink problem and I was not funding alcohol at any cost.I gave him a list of supported housing projects in the area and hope he went to see them after the week-end

grandtanteJE65 Fri 03-Nov-17 12:23:54

As you are in France you could see whether there are any of the order of nuns called Les Petites Seours (sorry can't find the combined French eo) de Jésus, or Filles de la Charité near you. Both are used to helping those in need.

The Catholic charity called Caritas probably does help unmarried mothers. Any parish priest ought to be able to direct you to suitable help for both the homeless and a young pregnant woman.

granma47 Fri 03-Nov-17 12:26:01

We were behind a young girl at the post office who was asking the directions and how far it was to a town a very long walk away. We saw her outside looking very tired and upset. When we asked if we could help with the bus fare to that town she said it wasn't where she wanted to be but someone had told her it would get her near the motorway where she could maybe thumb a lift. When asked where she was trying to get to it was Liverpool from the Fylde coast. She had been to the train station to find out how much it would cost on the train and found she had nowhere near enough money. We have no idea how she came to be in Blackpool but gave her the money for the train. She was very grateful and said she wouldn't be able to repay us but she really did look genuinely lost and she did catch that train.

Fennel Fri 03-Nov-17 12:32:55

At one time if a young unmarried girl became pregnant, she was banished by her family (because of the 'shame') Or had to have a shotgun wedding.
I wonder if this still goes on now in some cultures or religions?

quizqueen Fri 03-Nov-17 12:33:11

Totally irresponsible to get pregnant when your life is not stable enough that you cannot afford to feed yourself and, if the life of a pet has been taken on too, then it doubly irresponsible. As an animal lover, I might have bought a tin of dog food but would never give money. Why was the 'boyfriend' there shopping with her? He should have been at work providing for his family instead!!

sarahellenwhitney Fri 03-Nov-17 13:12:52

Fennel Do you really know she was pregnant? She opened up her coat for you ? and you assumed by her appearance! she was.? She may have used padding? these beggars know all the tricks of their trade Why not have bought tins of dog food with ring pulls.?Surely she would have had to cook the oats so needed the facilities to do so.? I am not entirely heartless, my sympathy was for the dog, not the alleged mother to be.

DotMH1901 Fri 03-Nov-17 13:55:25

I like the idea of buying forward - that is you go into a McDonald's or Cafe Nero/Costa and pay for a cup of coffee/hot drink and, if you want, a meal. Post it notes are put on the counter and if you are homeless and in need of a meal you can take one and get the drink/meal free. It is a USA idea and seems, from what my friends tell me, to work quite well over there. There is no cash alternative so you know it is going on food. Another idea I have seen is to put small bags together with toiletries and, for younger women, some sanitary items such as tampons etc. Another friend makes one of these up a month and hands it out to any homeless female she sees, they have always been very gratefully received (and as she says, her DGC buy loads of toiletries that she never really gets around to using herself so they go to a good cause) I imagine you could make a similar bag to hand out to men but include a razor/shaving foam or soap instead.

Humbertbear Fri 03-Nov-17 14:41:00

The general advice is only to support charities and donate food to food banks

VIOLETTE Fri 03-Nov-17 14:49:50

You could ask your local Mairie for a list of chartieis that would help ...Emmaeus for instance, and if you see the girl again, suggest she goes to the Mairie and make an rdv with the Assistante Sociale who should be able to help. There is, as you probably know, access to the CAF system for those without means ...AND homeless shelters ...and in rented property here in France between Nov. 1st and the end of February you cannot be turned out by the landlord for non payment of rent ...that is the law ....have a looked on which lists options available from CAF ...just in case you do see her again ! Very kind of you to want to help ! There is also Secours Catholique which is a charity