We've all seen them around town. Sometimes they infuriate us, sometimes we feel bad, but panhandling in Amarillo has definitely been an issue, at least for the three years I've lived here. So much so that even the city has been working on taking action with it.

Now, I understand panhandlers are nothing new, and they come in various walks of life. Some you can tell wholeheartedly they have been living on the streets a very long time. Some look like they just rolled out of bed, grabbed a sign and started standing out there.

I've seen some lately though that have really made me question if they really need the help, or if it's just something they're doing for fun. Ok, maybe not fun, but people that have a home or place to live, etc.

I've seen some people say they believe there is organized panhandling going on within the city. What exactly is organized panhandling? Basically a group of people who just take turns panhandling in the city, then splitting up the daily take.

So what would give us these kinds of thoughts? There are several things we can all point to. First, multiple people have reported seeing a car pull up somewhere, a person gets out of the car, takes over at the spot, while the one that was there hops in the car and drives off.

Now, I understand that you can have a car but not have a home, so I don't want to read into that too much. However, if you're seeing it happen often, it's pretty obvious there's a group working together and it'll make you question if it's something they really, truly need to be doing.

One thing my family has personally experienced is seeing those holding signs that say they're hungry. If we have some food in the car, we will typically try and give that person something to eat. Maybe it's something as simple as an apple, maybe it's a sandwich. We at least try to make sure they aren't hungry.

There was an instance where my wife and kids saw someone with a hungry sign. They rolled down the window, the person came to the car and they handed him some food. He took it, turned to walk away, then threw it right back at the car.

So yes, there are plenty of signs that organized panhandling is going on, and not organized by people who truly need the help. Sadly, this is what's happening in the world, and it seems to be right here in Amarillo.

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