LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Signs encouraging citizens to “change the way you give” to panhandlers have gone up at 46 local intersections in Lexington.
The signs, part of a public awareness campaign concerning panhandling, urge citizens to give to www.lexgive.com, rather than giving change directly to panhandlers.
“Lexington is a giving, caring community. People’s first instinct is to try to help when they see a panhandler on the curb. But there are better ways to help than giving panhandlers change,” said Polly Ruddick, director of the City’s Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention.
Ruddick said giving cash directly to panhandlers can support dangerous additions to alcohol or illegal drugs.
The www.lexgive.com website was set up to support the “End Panhandling Now!” van. The van has been traveling Lexington streets for two months, offering a ride and a job to those who want an opportunity to work and earn.
In addition to the signage, public service announcements are up on local media, encouraging contributions to Lexgive.
Ruddick said just over $800 has been contributed so far. The money will be used to pay the workers and support the van program, which is operated by New Life Day Center.
The goal is to put the signs up near intersections panhandlers frequent.
So far, signs have only been erected on City streets.
Lexington has asked the state for permission to put the signs on some state roads.