Program offers way to donate on behalf of homeless, discourages giving to panhandlers
SALEM — Giving cash to panhandlers can leave those thinking they’re doing a good deed still questioning where their money is actually going. So city officials are offering a solution: Give them the money instead.
Through ongoing initiatives to work with the city’s homeless population, Salem officials just launched Change It, which seeks to direct those well-intentioned dollars instead to services that benefit the homeless. By sending a simple text message — SALEM to 50555 — residents or visitors can quickly make a $5 donation to benefit the services that feed, clothe and shelter this vulnerable population, and also work to turn their lives around.
And there’s an added benefit for the donor — any donation gets them a discount to several different city businesses, with more to be added to the list soon.
The program was put together by city administration, as well as North Shore Community Health Center, North Shore Community Action Programs, Lifebridge — which operates a shelter and other services for the homeless — and the Salem Police Department.