CABOT, Ark. — Signs discouraging giving to pandhandlers are drawing a lot of attention to Cabot’s Mayor, who plans to hang that message across the city.
Mayor Ken Kincade posted a picture on Facebook showing him holding one of the signs. The sign reads, “Keep the change. Don’t support panhandling. Give to a local charity.”
“The community can give to anyone they want to give to. It is their right and choice to do so,” Mayor Kincade said in a statement to KARK 4. “It is my job as Mayor to make sure the public is making informed decisions. The signs are to discourage professional panhandling and reminds the citizens that they have a choice of how to help someone.”
“In no way do these signs establish a law not to give. Cabot is a very generous community and we are here to help people, but we don’t want to enable professional panhandlers that are taking advantage of our community.”
Mayor Kincade’s Facebook post drew comments from hundreds leaving their two cents. Some thanked the Mayor calling the push “outstanding”, others say “there’s no chance I’d support this.”
One of the charities the signs reference is The Van, which drives supplies to people in need. Volunteers with the nonprofit say they’re not onboard with the message.
“It was a little bit insulting when I see a sign that says don’t do this thing because there are nonprofits you can donate to, when the nonprofits will tell you, ‘hey talk to the folks, find out what they need,'” explained The Van Volunteer Caleb Alexander-McKinzie.
Alexander-McKinzie says in his experience someone is panhandling for a reason.
“No one takes pride in standing anywhere for 10 hours asking someone else to give them something out of their own heart,” he said. “You’re creating a bigger problem than you’re solving and you’re passing the buck.”
The signs are set to be installed over the next week.