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Concerns grow in Abbeville with increase of panhandling

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Posted at 7:29 PM, Mar 15, 2022

ABBEVILLE — "We try to do whatever we can and help in any way we can."

The Christian Service Center offers many resources for those in need. Services include daily meals throughout the week, bus fare and rental assistance.

"We don't want anyone to sleep in the cold, especially right now. We don't want anyone going hungry. You know, we want to make sure that our brothers and sisters are taken care of give a leg up, you know, a hand up not just a handout."

Marcelo Davis with CSC says being a part of the center for 7 years. In the last two, he's seen an increase in need as well as in panhandling.

"I think people who do panhandle, I think see it almost like a job."

"It has become a very big nuisance problem", says Chief of Police, Bill Spearman.

Although panhandling is illegal, Chief Spearman says at most that person would receive either $200 citation or 6 months of jail time. He believes the increase is due to the pandemic and the displacement from hurricane season.

"People get over here they can't get back home. Some from Lake Charles New Orleans, different places and there's no way for them to get back home."

He suggests different approach if asked for money.

"If you really want to do something for them, go buy them some food at a restaurant or something. You know that that way, you're sure they're eating. You're sure the money is going for food and they're not going out into traffic or hanging out on thoroughfares trying to beg money."

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