Better Way to Give program kicks off with benefit concert

A Better Way to Give Program aims to distribute resources and supplies to those in need.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Gulf Coast leaders held a benefit concert raising awareness for panhandling across south Mississippi.

The Better Way to Give Campaign is looking for ways to tackle the issue.

In the fight to reduce panhandling, A Better Way to Give Program aims to distribute resources and supplies to those in need.

It’s been a marathon to develop the campaign. Biloxi Mayor Andrew “Fofo” Gilich along with Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes created this vision.

“We’re trying to eliminate those folks who game the system. This is a way to discourage that,” Gilich said.

“It’s more of an awareness about our need to stop panhandling and change the way we do our culture,” Hewes said. “We’re very giving people, but to give to panhandlers is a very dangerous practice. We’re asking people to stop giving in the street but give it to a different charity.”

Being approached for money by a panhandler can put drivers and pedestrians in an uncomfortable situation.

“We kept hearing about it as officials. People are saying you have to find a way to stop it,” Hewes said.

If you’d like to donate, text “Better2Give” to 41444. There are now signs located throughout Harrison County.

The Gulf Coast Foundation and law enforcement officers will disburse the funds.

Hewes said officers then take funds and provide a voucher to buy meals, tanks of gas and hotel rooms for those in need.

“It’s exciting to have everybody together in one spot,” Gilich said.

" It’s going to take all of us to empower change. Not this kind of change, but change the way we do it,” Hewes said.

Funds from Thursday night’s benefit concert will go toward The Better Way to Give Program.

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