Why do people live from begging

With spring, more and more people come to the city centers to beg. Many people are therefore unsure whether they should give money to beggars or not. What are the pros and cons?

With the warmer temperatures in spring, more and more people are coming to city centers to beg. In many places, this includes beggars organized in gangs who also use small children as attractants or simulate disabilities. Many people are therefore unsure whether they should give money to beggars or not. What are the pros and cons?


The Bremen homeless pastor Harald Schröder encourages people to think about the situation of beggars. He also calls aggressive gang begging "difficult". But most of the beggars quietly ask for a donation after his experience. "And not every Eastern European is part of a gang either." For a considerable part of the beggars the "meeting" is the only source of income. "That there are enough state, church or other offers of help has not been true for a long time." A job that is also associated with considerable overcoming: "You make yourself emotionally naked."

Schröder encourages you to stop for a moment and talk to beggars at eye level, without up and down. This is important for the people crouching on the street and signal to them: "I see you. Listen when your time allows, at the same time you can keep your emotional distance."

An honest word is more important than money, but it is also a symbol of care. Nevertheless: "You can say no without a guilty conscience." The uncertainty as to whether the help really makes sense can never be completely dispelled. And yet Schröder says: "I have no right to prescribe what the money is used for. Even if the person in front of me is in an emergency, one should not see a 'case of need' in the beggar. A person is sitting in front of us."

The pastor has an explanation for why some people feel uncomfortable about beggars. "With their physically visible presence of poverty in the middle of the world of consumption and capital, beggars disturb the beautiful appearance of the inner cities, which repeatedly sell the illusion of participation for all through consumption. Beggars reveal poverty. That is why it applies to me: giving is allowed. "


Salvation Army Major Alfred Preuss takes a different position and opposes giving money to beggars. Those who do that are not living up to their social responsibility. "Through alms we ensure that people remain in their precarious situation, that they are kept at the level of those who are pleading and begging," says the head of the Salvation Army community in Siegen, North Rhine-Westphalia. And: "The money often goes into drug, alcohol or gambling addiction."

Preuss finds the begging organized in gangs particularly problematic: "For example, children are literally trained to beg for money. There are reports that the money raised goes into criminal hands. It doesn't help the beggars themselves - that is inhuman and exploitative. "

Although he had already helped with food parcels when asked at the door. "As first aid. But that was always combined with an invitation to our meeting café, where there is a chance to get to the bottom of the causes of the need and to look for possible solutions together so that people can stand on their own two feet again, for example with debt counseling. "

"In any case, the euro is not enough, nor is the sandwich, the grocery package or the ticket, if we turn a blind eye to the hardship that lies behind the question of the euro," says Preuss and emphasizes: "That is why I am convinced: Alms no - help yes. "

And this is what church voices say:

Cardinal Woelki (Word of the Bishop of July 17, 2016, domradio.de):

The giving of alms is one of the seven bodily works of mercy. "Go, sell what you have, give the money to the poor and you will have a lasting treasure in heaven, then come and follow me!" This recommendation comes from Jesus himself when the rich young man wanted to know what kind of Christian But not only in Christianity is the voluntary, charitable gift for the needy a program: Jews, Buddhists, Muslims - everyone calls for alms.

So the next time we want to slip past a poor eater, we should at least look our counterpart in the eye and say hello. But it is good Christian if we not only open our hearts, but also give him a gentle gift. "I want mercy!" - No Christian can ignore this word of Jesus.

Pope Francis on April 9, 2016:

Even a homeless person who immediately invests every penny in alcohol deserves handouts, according to Pope Francis. Many justified their refusal to give a gift by pointing out that the recipient "might buy a bottle of wine with it to get drunk," said the Pope on Saturday in St. These people would have to wonder if they are "the judge of this poor man who demands a coin from you for a glass of wine".

If the needy gets drunk, then he does so "because there is no other way for him," said the Pope. In addition, in this situation everyone should keep in mind what they are doing in secret, warned Francis during a special audience on the occasion of the Holy Year.