TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa police are taking to the streets to educate the public on different ways to help those in need.
Sgt. Richard Meulenberg made a panhandling sign with the words “Please do NOT give cash.” He said as part of his job as a community outreach officer, he’s been standing with that sign periodically to inform the public that handing cash to panhandlers may not be the best way to help.
The effort is part of a partnership with the Community Service Council of Tulsa.
The council has an initiative called A Way Home for Tulsa, which is working to end homelessness.
When people stop to talk with Meulenberg, he gives them a pamphlet instead of money. It lists multiple organizations people can donate to that will help the homeless and other Tulsans in need.
Police said donating to organizations instead of giving to random people will go further by reaching more people. It also ensures the money is going to places that can help fix the problem and not create a bigger one.
Critics said they can spend their money however they want. Police agree and said it’s not against the law for anyone to give money to panhandlers if they want.
However, they want people to know there are more ways to help that could make a bigger impact.
Below is a list of organizations working with A Way Home For Tulsa:
- 12 & 12
- City of Tulsa
- Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma
- DaySpring Villa
- Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs
- Family & Children's Services
- Family Promise of Tulsa County
- Iron Gate Tulsa
- John 3:16 Mission
- Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
- Mental Health Association Oklahoma
- Morton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.
- National Resource Center for Youth Services
- Oklahoma Department of Human Services
- Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
- Participant Advisory Group
- Restore Hope Ministries
- The Salvation Army Tulsa, OK
- Surayya Anne Foundation - Tulsa
- Tulsa CARES at The Charles Faudree Center
- Tulsa County Social Services
- Tulsa Day Center
- Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa
- Tulsa Police Department
- Volunteers of America Oklahoma
- Youth Services of Tulsa
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