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Hope Center discourages giving to panhandlers, encourages donating to organizations

If you’ve walked the Rapid City streets, you may have encountered someone asking for any extra...
If you’ve walked the Rapid City streets, you may have encountered someone asking for any extra cash, you may have on hand, and while you may want to help, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says you might want to avoid giving that money.(Nick Nelson)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging people to not give money to panhandlers in Rapid City. Local non-profits say that there are better ways for people to ensure the homeless population in the community are cared for.

If you’ve walked the Rapid City streets, you may have encountered someone asking for any extra cash, you may have on hand, and while you may want to help, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says you might want to avoid giving that money.

The non-profit Hope Center in Rapid City provides food, water, and essential needs for the homeless community.

Executive Director Melanie Timm said that panhandlers may not always be honest with what they’ll do with the money.

“We do encourage people, though that if they want to do things that are supportive to the homeless population or those who are struggling financially, to donate to organizations that are able to help people with their needs,” Timm said.

The Hope Center is celebrating its tenth year of operation.

Timm said that ever since they’ve started, they’ve been a relationship-based organization providing a sense of community for those who need help.

“We spend time getting to know our guests because everyone is so different,” Tim said. “Everyone’s struggles and challenges are so unique to them, and we try to help them identify what goals they have and the obstacles that keep them from going forward.”

The Hope Center also provides employment opportunities for its guests.

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