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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
You've seen them on the corner of a street, holding a cardboard sign that reads "I'm hungry, need money, please help." As you start to pull out your dollar bill, have you ever thought if he/she is homeless by choice?
Monday on "First Look with Scott Cox," Bob Bell, chairman for the Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporation, talked about panhandling in Bakersfield.
A recent Bakersfield Californian opinion piece written by a mother whose son chooses to panhandle, was an eye opener to many who think they are doing a good deed by giving panhandlers money.
"A vast majority are doing it in a lull of a job, many times they aren't even homeless," Bell said. "They know Bakersfield is a benevolent or a loving city."
Throughout the course of one day, many panhandlers can collect up to $250, Bell said.
Instead of handing over money, Bell said there are cards available at the Bakersfield Downtown Business Association that have information of local organizations they can seek help at.
Places like the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter or The Mission at Kern County provide men, women and children assistance, Bell said.