To Give or Not to Give: Mother and Children Asking for Help

LIVERMORE, Ca: Mother and children asking for donations at the Safeway on First Street. Photo credit: Jessica Alexander Gillan
LIVERMORE, Ca: Mother and children asking for donations at the Safeway on First Street. Photo credit: Jessica Alexander Gillan
To give or not to give? That is the question when driving by the scene shown in this reader contributed photo.

This photo, taken at Safeway on First Street in Livermore, was shared on the Livermore Patch Facebook page by reader Jessica Alexander Gillan. 

This is not the first time this family has been seen in Livermore and this scene is not much different from another family interviewed by Patch in 2012 after being seen for several days in a row in Pleasanton.

[Related article: 'Homeless and Struggling' but Still Hopeful]

In Pleasanton last week, a father and his son were spotted at the Gateway Shopping Center in the 6700 block of Bernal Avenue asking for help. The article prompted readers to share their thoughts about a wide range of topics from panhandling, parenting and homelessness to the resources available to those in need in Tri-Valley.

[Related article: To Give or Not to Give: 'Family in Need Anything Will Help']

Homelessness is a popular topic of discussion in the Tri-Valley as of late. Mayor John Marchand recently invited the public to a summit about homelessness.

[Related article: Mayor Announces Summit on Homelessness]

Patch wants to know what you think about when you come across situations like this one. Do you give money or do you think it is wrong to support this type of behavior? 

Tell us in the comments section.
Linda Carolson April 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Is it really legal or are the police just not addressing the problem? I remember a disabled veteran who was kicked out of downtown for quietly sitting on a bench selling some DVDs to make enough money to keep his electricity on. He wasn't bothering anybody but they ran him out. But we allow these professional beggers to take up residence at every shopping center entrance and pester customers? They don't just sit there quietly either. I have had them come up and place their sign against my windows when I was captive at a red light. I have had them follow me out to my car and ask for money. I have seen them block access to shopping carts or block the exits to ask for money. They are in your face everywhere you go lately. Why are they coming here? Because Livermore rolls out the red carpet for them while other cities have driven them out. I'm sorry, but this is not the Livermore I want to live in.
Ray Flores April 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM
Two different scenarios: The Disabled Vet was on public property, the beggers are on private property. Unless the property owners (the rock supposedly belongs to Lowe's and not to Safeway) are wiling to call the police, there is nothing that our fine LPD can do. If they are following you and harassing you, then you can call the police. If they touch or vandalize your car, you can call the police.
Becky April 21, 2014 at 01:38 PM
It's illegal to sell stuff without a permit. But it is legal to ask for money - crazy. I called the cops on a young guy who was just standing on the median in the middle of an intersection begging from people in the left turn lane. It seemed hazardous.
Linda Carolson May 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM
I have spoken with managers at both Safeway and Lowes and have been told they have called the police repeatedly and been told there is nothing they can do since they are on public property. Apparently property open to the public is considered public property? Anyway, the management encouraged me to call the police myself because the police won't respond to their calls. I agree with Becky that some are a hazard. And they seem to be getting more and more aggressive. Maybe the city should feature these people on their tourist information materials - come to Livermore and enjoy our fabulous wines while the beggers hound you for money everywhere you turn!
Becky May 21, 2014 at 04:13 PM
The police told me too that it's not illegal to beg - as long as they're not selling something. But LPD will come talk to them if they're aggressive. We were at Lucky's on Portola selling girl scout cookies and one of those 'collecting for a women's shelter' people was set up, and being really rude with shoppers, so we couldn't sell any cookies - she was scaring away all our customers. It was maddening because we had called and arranged with Lucky's to sell at that time-slot. I called the cops and they came and talked to her.


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