Organization pushes efforts to stop panhandling - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Organization pushes efforts to stop panhandling

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GREAT FALLS- If you've driven down any Great Falls streets, you've probably seen someone asking for money.

But an organization is working to reduce the number of people panhandling by giving the community a way to donate money to a specific cause.

The organization is called coins for a cause. They began here in Great Falls back in 2012 with just nine boxes. Now, it has more than 20 at different locations throughout the city.

About two months ago the Great Falls Police Department posted a video on Facebook explaining a growing problem in the community, panhandling.

KFBB spoke with residents who said they either prefer to directly give panhandlers money or rather put coins in a box. 

An alternative to giving money to those on the street is a little blue box, and by putting your money inside, you're still helping those in need. 

Great Falls Police, Business Residential Involving Community (BRIC) Officer Adam Hunt, and Joan Redeen, with the Business Improvement District, said the money donated will go to causes that help the homeless like the Rescue Mission and the YWCA. 

"Let's take that money and reinvest back into our community. Let's reinvest it into an organization who helps these folks," said Hunt.

"If someone is truly homeless, needs a meal, needs clothing, needs a bed, then we can work to help make that happen," said Redeen. 

But why not just give it to the person on the street right then and there?  Officer hunt explained they may not be who you think they are.

"They're just saying they're homeless because they want money and most of them admit to me that they want money to buy beer," said Hunt. 

By giving the entire amount of money raised yearly to one organization, it's able to satisfy anyone who is in need.

They raise about $500 a year, and normally it increases every year. But, in 2017 there was a decrease which is why the organization is trying new approaches to get the word out.

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