Today I was triggered.

After seeing the below post in the Facebook group WTF is Happening in Yakima, I realized who the real suckers in Yakima are.

Heads up real quick, these girls aren’t homeless and are waving cars down to give them money. They are using a baby to do it to and are located down where Target is.  I already talked with them and they were saying Yakima people were suckers. - James Vera via WTF Just Happened in Yakima? Facebook Group

It's reality check time. Giving money to panhandlers makes you part of the problem. Period. In general, panhandling is an issue everywhere but there's a FREE solution that's available to all of us.


Loads of people in the comment section of the post were talking about calling CPS because a child was involved. I figured I'd ask if that's true but was unable to get ahold of an answer so I asked the Yakima Police Department what the protocol is for this type of situation. Having a baby with you while you panhandle isn't illegal. But those are two separate issues altogether. If you feel a child is in danger CPS could possibly get involved. There are certain intersections it's illegal to panhandle from due to high traffic and the danger of car accidents. Panhandling isn't even illegal but there is a time when the police will get involved, it's called aggressive panhandling.

What's Aggressive Panhandling?

They aren't asking they are telling you to give them money, following you around or trying to hold onto your car, or blocking your exit so you're unable to leave the area. If you're able to speak to the store security, that's always a great first option but if it's really bad you can call and get the police involved.

Should You Give Cash to Pandhandlers?

The Yakima Police Department says the BEST way to help cut down on the number of panhandlers is to not give them cash but to donate to the local charities in town that are set up to assist get those that reaching out for help. There are groups of charities that will go out into the areas where the homeless are and will provide them with the blankets, food, and supplies that have been donated. They offer shelter and even pick people up and take them to Camp Hope or other locations for a warm meal and shelter. Below you will find a list of different options for those that need help and those that want to help.

The Scam Game is Strong

I reached out to our Facebook community to see what kinds of scams people have recently experienced in the Yakima Valley and there are loads.

The Veteran Scam

Cindy S said the Veteran Scam is a popular one, she asked a man at the WV Walmart who was panhandling about his DD214 and she got a blank stare. I had to look it up but it stands for certificate of release or a discharge form from the military.

The Violin Players

I was blown away when I read Amanda M and others mention there are some "musicians" playing violins by Fred Meyer and over in the Tri-Cities but here's the kicker. It's a flipping recording! They aren't even really playing it. Creative but still junk!

The Handicapped Game

Reyann O was in the Lower Valley when she gave a bit of cash to two homeless people, one in a wheelchair. Afterward, she got into her car she noticed they had switched spots. Now the one in the wheelchair was standing while the other sat in the chair.

The Mini Bike

Check this one! Lupe G said her ex-hubby used to play cards at Sports Center when they still had a room for that. One time another player asked if he wanted to see something. They went to the back parking lot and waited for a bit. An old man rolled into the parking lot on a little bike, rides up to a truck, drops it in the back. Gets in and takes off. He was done panhandling for the day and the dude said, he does this every day.

I Love Gold

Mak M wanted to remind everyone to be careful buying "gold" from the brothers and their families. Every year, same stories you'll see of people getting scammed. It's fake.

Walmart Parking Lot

Lori M watched a gentlemen park his above-average minivan in the parking lot, take his, "please help me" sign out of his pocket, and get to work. Catherine L witnessed three of them holding their signs chitchatting, they must have been on a break. Panhandling is only working because people keep giving them money. It's got to stop.

Stacks of Cash

Do homeless people have pimps too? Gabriele F said his lady saw a homeless man handing over stacks of cash to a dude in a really nice car. Fred B said he spoke to a panhandler that takes home about $80,000 a year from begging. Still, want to hand them money?

More to come on what can be done but really the best thing you can do, just like dealing with an addict, is cut off their supply. No more money to the panhandlers.

How Can I Help or Get Help?

Every city has its own system for assisting those in need. In the Yakima Valley here are a few to get you started.

Rods House - This is a spot where homeless teens or teens with issues at home have a safe spot to come and clean up, be fed, and grab some clothes, and more. You can donate your time or drop off much-needed supplies. Open Monday - Friday 12 pm - 4 pm located at 204 South Naches Ave, Yakima, WA 98901 (509) 895-2665

Union Gospel Mission - Call and ask for Heather in the Warehouse, be specific about what you need or are wanting to donate. There is the possibility you will need a referral letter so if you are homeless and trying to get back on your feet they can direct you to more resources for items they don't possess. You can also eat there

Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington - Rental assistance, basic needs, and more. Monday - Thursday 8 am - 6 pm and Fridays 8 am - 5 pm 509-965-7100. 5301 Tieton Dr, Yakima, WA 98908

Catholica Charities East Yakima - Monday - Friday 8 am - 6 pm 303 E D St #5, Yakima, WA 98901 509-853-1300 303 E D St # 5 Yakima, WA 98901

Latino Community Fund - 6 S 2nd St Suite 907 Yakima, WA 98901 Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm 509-949-2026

Yakima Valley Food Banks

Yakima Area

  • OIC Food Bank Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am 1419 Hathaway Street Yakima, WA 98902 509-452-7612
  • Fairview SDA Food Bank 2nd and 4th Sunday, 10 am - 12 pm 1010 S. Fair Ave Yakima, WA 98901 509-248-9292
  • Henry Beauchamp Community Center Monday, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm 1211 S. 7th St. Yakima, WA 98901 509-575-6114
  • The Pantry at Moxee 3rd Thursday, 3 pm - 6 pm, 7203 Mieras Rd. Yakima, WA 98901 509-452-3168
  • The Salvation Army Monday - Friday, 2 pm - 4 pm, 9 South 6th Ave 509-453-3139
  • Selah Food Bank Monday & Friday, 2 pm - 3 pm 216 S. 1st St. Selah, WA 98942 509-698-7302
  • Sunrise Outreach Center Our - Daily Bread Thursday, 10 am - 12 pm 221 E. Martin Luther King Jr. BLVD Yakima, WA 98901 509-225-9310
  • St. Vincent Centers Food Bank - Friday, 8:30 am - 12 pm 703 Central Ave. Yakima, WA 98901 509-457-5111
  • Yakima Rotary Food Bank Friday 8:30 am 8:30 am - 12:00 pm 703 Central Ave, Yakima, WA 98901 509-853-8918
  • Yakima SDA Foodbank Tuesday 9:30 am - 11:30 am 507 N. 35th Ave. Yakima, WA 98902 509-494-9671

Lower Valley Food Banks

  • The Salvation Army - Grandview Tuesday 10 am - 12 pm Thursday 6 pm - 7 pm 246 Division St. Grandview, WA 98930 509-823-1814
  • Granger Food Bank Monday 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm 109 East A St. Granger, WA 98932 509-930-0800
  • Sunrise Outreach Center - Sunnyside Friday 9:30 am - 11:30 am 529 S. 9th St. Sunnyside, WA 98944 509-452-6138
  • Sunrise Outreach Center - Wapato - Tuesday & Friday 9:30 am - 11:30 am 118 Ivy St. Wapato, WA 98951 509-225-9310
  • Sunrise Outreach Center - White Swan - Saturday 9 am - 11 am 90 1st St. White Swan, WA 98952 509-225-9310
  • Toppenish Community Chest and Food Bank - Monday & Thursday 9:30 am - 11:30 am Thursday 5 pm - 6:30 pm 4 North B St. Toppenish, WA 98948 509-865-5311

Upper Valley Food Bank

  • Highland Food Bank 616 Wisconsin B Tieton Saturdays 8:00 - 10:00 am

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