Responding to panhandlers can be a tricky situation. Great Falls’ Coins for a Cause program addresses panhandling downtown at the root level by giving to more long term homelessness solutions.
Giving panhandlers spare change is a short-term remedy that perpetuates the cycle of poverty in our community; it neither creates nor facilitates long-term solutions. The Downtown Safety Alliance, including NeighborWorks Great Falls, the Great Falls Police Department, the Business Improvement District, Downtown Great Falls Association, Speaking Socially and others, are sponsoring the program, Coins for a Cause, as an alternative to panhandling.
Donations collected from containers set up in various downtown businesses will be given to local organizations that provide direct services and resources to people in need. For 2013, $509.96 was presented to the Great Falls Rescue Mission; for 2014, $522.07 was presented to the YWCA; for 2015, $537.45 was presented to Opportunities, Inc.; for 2016, $558.42 was presented to the Grace Home; for 2017, $348.63 was presented to the GFPD Volunteer Program; and for 2018, $485.22 was presented to Family Promise.
Donation containers can be found at the following downtown businesses, as well as several outdoor boxes located in the 400 & 500 blocks of Central Ave:
• Dragonfly Dry Goods 504 Central Ave
• BID/DGFA 318 Central Ave
• NeighborWorks Great Falls 509 1st Ave S
• Mountain Title 325 1st Ave N
• Gallery 16 600 Central Ave
• Taco Del Sol 16 6th St S
• Great Harvest 515 1st Ave N
• Feather Your Nest 311 Central Ave
• Belles & Lace 320 Central Ave
• State Farm 17 2nd St S
• Kaufman's 411 Central Ave
• Brighten Up Shop 618 Central Ave
• Celtic Cowboy 116 1st Ave S
• Crooked Tree 501 1st Ave N
• Cassiopeia Books 721 Central Ave
• O’Haire Motor Inn 17 7th St S
• Hi-Line Climbing Center 608 1st Ave S
• Enbär 8 5th Street S
Donating spare change to Coins for a Cause helps to curb panhandling, support local organizations, and provide assistance to those in need. Learn more about panhandling and the Coins for a Cause program by clicking here to check out the Great Falls Police Department video about panhandling.
To find out more about the program, schedule an informational session, or learn how you can host a donation jar, contact: Carol Bronson or Joan Redeen.