A cautionary tale from a reader:
"Last night I was at the Walgreens on Wilson & Clark and there was a group of four people in front of the door standing around the Salvation Army stand that the collection kettle hangs from. Obviously they were not part of the S.A. as there was no kettle, it was obviously too late, one of the four persons clearly looked like a gangbanger, one had a long beard and a yellow hazard vest and was talking on his cell phone, one (sad to say) looked like a runaway teenage girl who stood hiding her face against the wall of the building (reminding me of the movie Grandma's Boy) with luggage bags next to her, and one was the mouth of the operation who tried to sweet talk the customers into giving them money. They were aggressively panhandling people and by their proximity to the Salvation Army stand were trying to make it look and sound like that's who they were collecting for.
I sat in my car long enough to see one of the customers turn around after walking past the group to return to them and give them money. I think it was more than $1 and it looked like she may have been acting out of her charitable nature and believed she was giving to the S.A. The smooth talker took the money, put it in his pocket, and just kind of laughed at the woman, leaving her with a bewildered look on her face as the smooth talker and gangbanger walked off leaving the guy with the long beard and the girl hiding her face against the wall.
Whether or not a person decides to give money to a panhandler on the streets is their choice and their business, but to watch an obvious scam take place that takes advantage of the Salvation Army is disgusting and seeing a woman's disappointment when she realized they were not part of a genuine charity is even worse.
Beware of this type of scam! I have no affiliations with the S.A., but should you choose to make a donation in person use common sense and make sure they are really who they say they are. Make sure they have a bell! Also the S.A. accepts donations on their web page: SalvationArmy.org.
Thanks and Happy Holidays!"