I'm all for giving to charity.
But in case you encounter Teddy, here's what you need to know.
1. There's no such organization as the Bergen Lafayette Coalition To Feed The Homeless. I called various shelters and they never heard of it, but some have heard of Teddy.
2. I called the PATH Police (201-216-6078) about Teddy. The officer I spoke to knows Teddy, he's always on the PATH - and said to call them or use the public phones if he's panhandling.
3. Giving money to homeless exacerbates the problem. If you want to give money, there are PLENTY of local shelters I need this holiday season. I recommend:
A few people have commented things like:
Q: Why is it important to throw a homeless guy in jail???
A: It's not what i'm asking for here. You may think that Teddy just wants a cup of coffee or some food - there are legitimate homeless shelters all over the tri state area ready to feed and house the homeless. More often than not homeless ask for money because of alcohol or drug related issues. You aren't helping them by feeding that addiction.
Q: Come on I feel guilty! What does it hurt to give .25 cents to a guy?
A: Wouldn't you feel 10x better and give to the Hoboken Shelter instead?
Q: Put yourself in his shoes! Imagine BEGGING for money.
A: I can imagine it, but I have seen him begging for money for 16 years, since 1994. He used to be a middle aged guy and wore a Medicaid card around his neck to look legitimate. I used to give him money, too. Once I did a bit of research I found out that the organization didn't exist and he was lying to people. Look, if he was homeless and just said so, I wouldn't have as big of a problem as someone who claims to be collecting for a shelter. Once I called the shelters they told me that no one collects money on a train like that, and even THEY said not to give him money. It was an eye opener.
So this holiday season, give to actual organizations and not PATH train Teddy.