Edmontonians care about each other and want to help others. However, giving money to panhandlers may not be the best way to help people.
Giving money to panhandlers may:
- support drug and alcohol addictions
- discourage panhandlers from accessing community resources that can help
- encourage them to work specific areas and eventually lead to police intervention
There are many places in Edmonton for people who need free food, shelter, and support. Regular free meals and food banks are available throughout the city. Call 211 for information.
When approached by panhandlers, it can feel good to give directly to people. You have a choice when you give directly:
- If you know a panhandler by name, offer to buy them a snack or a meal.
- Buy a copy of Alberta Street News from a local street vendor.
- Donate money and/or volunteer your time to social service agencies that provide food, shelter, and support to people in need.
Have a Heart – Give Smart campaign
Have a Heart – Give Smart is a public education campaign about panhandling and the choices Edmontonians have to help make real life changes for someone in need.
Aggressive panhandling is not allowed within Edmonton. If you feel threatened, are insulted, coerced or intimidated by a panhandler, please contact Edmonton Police at 780.423-4567. For more information about the panhandling bylaw, please see Bylaw 14614, section II, part 4.1(1).