Lowndes Co. installs ‘Say No to Panhandling’ signs, encourages helping through other resources

Those in need of housing in the Lowndes Co. area are asked to call (229) 245-7157.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 10:35 AM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Lowndes County officials are discouraging drivers from giving money to panhandlers. Officials installed “Say No to Panhandling” signs to encourage driver and pedestrian safety on the roadways.

Instead, they are asking the community members to give back through local resources.

“Lowndes County saw an opportunity to keep drivers and pedestrians safe while also highlighting the official resources available in our community for those in need,” Meghan Barwick, Lowndes County public information officer, said.

The signs are located across Lowndes County, specifically near busy highways and intersections telling drivers to contribute to groups like Lowndes Associated Ministries for People (LAMP). The organization’s hotline provides callers with direct ways to donate or gives those in need an opportunity to get assistance.

The funds help support those housed in the shelter and those un-housed on the street.

“It would help them be able to take showers and wash clothes. We allow them to come and wash two loads Monday-Friday. It’s very beneficial,” Kathleen Cooper, LAMP Day Center coordinator and case manager, said.

“There is a lot of traffic so you run the risk of getting hit. You stop in the middle of the road to give somebody money, and the person behind you may not see it and end up hitting you.” Cassandra Chartier, case manager and programs assistant, said.

A man who is experiencing homelessness told WALB there are still good people in the community that are willing to give to those in need on the street, but donating to local resources contributes a lot as well.

“You got some good folks out here that give you what you ask for, or they go in the store and get you what you want,” Carlos Little, a person experiencing homelessness in Lowndes County, said. “She said she ain’t got no cash but she said she would get it for me. She said the type of person she is in her heart, basically, what she saying, if she got it, she’ll give.”

Local officials say the best way to ensure the funds are benefiting the homeless is to donate directly by calling the housing crisis hotline at (229) 245-7157.

Before the excessive heat hit South Georgia. LAMP says they were seeing 50 calls a day. Now they are receiving over 100.

“Currently, our shelter is actually full and we are having to turn so many people away a day,” Chartier, said. “We still allow them to come into the day center, we know it’s not a fix, but it’s a temporary fix, but it’s very vital. Temperatures are just outrageous,” Cooper said.

LAMP is allowing shelter residents and nonresidents experiencing homelessness access to their day center Monday through Friday 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. Thanks to several local resources, Greater Valdosta United Way, Second Harvest, Pepsi and more.