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May 5, 2008
Why People Panhandle


To the Editor:

Re "Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Cuff Links?" (news article, April 25):

I was appalled to see a panhandler named Baker Howard described as a "sharp-dressed solicitor of change" and to see his methods of traffic navigation characterized as "work habits."

This return to old stereotypes does a great disservice to those who want nothing more than the opportunity to become productive, self-sufficient members of society.

Many of the 3,300 graduates of Ready, Willing and Able, a Doe Fund program that I helped found, once panhandled, not because it was fashionable but as a means of survival, and they have all moved into full-time jobs in the mainstream economy.

Harriet Karr-McDonald
New York, April 25, 2008

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