Did I open a can of worms yesterday!   We opened "The Mike Bastinelli Show," with a discussion about panhandlers.  Specifically those folks who hold up signs and ask for money on street corners of busy Yakima intersections. The fact is most of these people are not homeless and not in need of help. In fact it's been proven that many of them are actually scam artist, who play on people's sympathy, to rip people off.

Earlier this year a Yakima man, well known for standing on street corners, was found dead. He overdosed with thousands of dollars on him!  He wasn't really in need of money for food! What's dumbfounding to me is that most people know this to be true and yet they still give these "people in need" money.

Why? Do we feel guilty?

I'm not really sure, but one thing I do know is that Yakima Valley residents are some of the most giving people on the planet and these panhandlers know that. That's why they're in Yakima!

Some people believe that the City of Yakima should get involved That is quite possible.  However, I have a simple solution.  Stop giving these people money! If we do that, they will go away. Instead give your money to reputable organizations like the Union Gospel or Calvary Rescue Missions.

How about giving to a local church that has a ministry to the homeless and needy?  Maybe buy someone in need groceries with your own money.  Or donate to the Salvation Army or Second Harvest.  My point is, let's give to people in need, but let's not give to scam artist and lazy people who are looking for a free (tax free) buck!

I brought that up yesterday and apparently a few of the scam artist actually called the  show and embarrassed themselves. In fact one person even dropped an F- bomb during his call and we had to hit the delay button.   What about the group wearing goofy white suits, standing on street corners, store entrances and other public places begging for money with buckets!  Don't give to them! They claim to be from some fictitious ministry. I will tell you that no reputable ministry collects money that way.  It is my opinion that these folks are also scam artist, who have no intention of using the money to advance God's kingdom.

Bottom line folks. Let's be generous and help our fellow man (or woman) and those in need, but STOP giving to these people!!  What are your thoughts about these panhandlers? How can we rid the city of these people? Should the City of Yakima get involved?  Leave your comments here or go to our Facebook page and share your thoughts. Listen to "The Mike Bastinelli Show."  Every weekday 3 to 6 on AM 1280 and FM 99.3 Newstalk KIT.