By Tommy Taylor
The City of Wilmington and the United Way of the Cape Fear Area (United Way) have partnered to launch the “Better Way to Give” initiative (wilmingtonnc.gov/betterway). This initiative offers community members a comprehensive and compassionate alternative to giving directly to individuals who solicit money in public places by instead directing gifts to service providers that help these persons move from crisis to stability.
This initiative recognizes that many individuals who ask for money in public places, such as intersections and sidewalks, can face significant challenges like hunger and food insecurity, unemployment, substance abuse, and homelessness. These issues are complex and require smart, holistic solutions.
The impulse to give financial resources to individuals who demonstrate these needs is natural, but a single donation to an individual only provides temporary relief and does not address the root causes of their struggles. In some cases, giving directly to an individual can exacerbate their struggles, allowing them to remain in a state of crisis rather than finding the structured support and stability they need.
Giving instead to community organizations that provide structured support can help these individuals move toward a better future. The greater Wilmington area has a number of highly reputable organizations that work everyday to meet the needs of those in crisis in a holistic and comprehensive way, making a positive and long-lasting impact on the lives of individuals.
A Better Way to Give provides a simple and easy way for you to support this important work through a dedicated public giving portal administered by the United Way. The funds collected will be distributed directly to the human and social service organizations operating within the City of Wilmington that provide direct client services for shelter and housing, food and nutrition, substance abuse recovery, and employment opportunity.
Everyday, we see needs all around us. If compassion and concern inspire you to give to persons you encounter soliciting funds in public places, I encourage you to make the most of your gift through the Better Way to Give and help to provide the kind of life changing support that can move these persons from crisis to stability and a better future.