If you drive or walk through Grand Rapids, especially downtown, you are bound to see a panhandler or two on the side of the road asking for money. What do you do in this case? Do you give money or continue by?

If you don't feel comfortable giving a panhandler money or you're concerned what they would do with that money, an alternative would be giving them a redeemable voucher to be used at Dégagé Ministries in Grand Rapids.

The Ministry offers different programs and that includes the Voucher Program which offers a solution to panhandling. The voucher is worth $2 and according to Dégagé's website it:

...provides a positive means for both immediate help (a warm meal or hot shower) and long-term support (I.D. assistance, housing, overnight shelter)."

MLive says that the program was created in 2013 and has since sold about 28,000 vouchers with a 60% usage rate. Marketing Director for the ministry told MLive that most people's reasoning for not giving money is because they think it will be used to buy alcohol or drugs. The voucher program assures that the money will be used to go towards necessities. This also helps out the homeless people who were not aware of this service.

If interested in purchasing a voucher(s) you can do so here. Vouchers can be mailed to you or you can pick them up at Dégagé Ministries located at 144 Division Ave. in Grand Rapids.

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