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What Do You Think?

September 24, 2009

Editor's note: The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments when voting. A sampling of edited reader comments will run on The Herald-Mail's Opinion page on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The question posted Monday on The Herald-Mail's Web site was: Are you inclined to volunteer to help homeless people?

o "When my small business was doing well, I helped out quite a few homeless people in the past. Actually, a few stayed at my house. They would get a place to sleep, a hot meal and they could take a shower. All I asked was they at least look for a job. I'm all for helping people because I've been where they are, many, many years ago."

o "I have provided shelter and financial assistance to people who were homeless. I found that so many of them are people with mental problems, drug and alcohol problems, and sometimes just the lack of ability to function on a job. This is a problem that is deeper than economic reasons for their condition. I'm sure there are some who for pure economic reasons are homeless, but I really believe the majority have underlying issues that need special treatment."

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o "Once you give a homeless person a gift like money or a sandwich, you have done a good deed and the right thing. What they do with your gift is their choice. Let me tell you, I was shocked to hear that there are close to 100 people living in the woods blocks away from downtown Hagerstown. What is wrong with this picture? These displaced people obviously need help from everyone that can help them."

o "When I was at the health care town hall event hosted by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin at HCC, I saw a woman holding a sign that said, "Health care is a right." Well, with her logic, shouldn't shelter be a right, too? We help the homeless and other needy Americans through various church outreach programs. When God has blessed you, then you should bless someone else."

o "If you want to donate, blankets, clothing or food are a much better options than cash. Unfortunately, cash often goes toward cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. Just remember, these people are human beings and should be treated with compassion."

o "I agree that you should not give money to the homeless, yet I still do it sometimes because I believe that the person was going to use it wisely. We have just recently given bedding and other things to someone because that was what they asked for as they had found a room, but needed some things to furnish it. That said, there are some of the homeless who are problematic and need help that the public cannot give and to even get around them is risky."

o "Yes, I give clothes and other items to the rescue mission and also money at Thanksgiving to help with meals. I feel by doing this, it will help cut down on crime by providing people with basics they need and they are less likely to get them illegally."

o "First should come personal responsibility of the homeless, then charity. No personal responsibility, no charity from me."

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