Maybe you’ve seen one of our new billboards…

…or heard a radio public service announcement, or seen one on TV. All are communicating one message: let’s be wise in our approach to panhandling.

Realizing this is not a problem for our city government to solve, but rather the citizens of Joplin, Watered Gardens has embarked on a months-long campaign to encourage the 4-state area on ways to #GiveBetter when you see someone flying a sign on a street corner.

Not that people with signs don’t have needs. It’s just unlikely their real needs can be met with your money. And it’s not that we want a community without compassion. We just want our community to join compassion with relationship and responsibility. 

We can’t do all three when we just drop change into a cup. But when we #GiveBetter, we become a community that puts struggling people on a new path of hope.

People like John. He admits his addiction forced him back to his favorite corner with a “will work for food” sign for years until he came to faith at the mission and found new hope and a new life through real relationships.

Or like Brett. He described his panhandling as a form of manipulation. Thankfully, he found forgiveness and freedom from begging through the compassion and inspiration of new Christian friends. 

These are real people who once flew signs but do so no longer. Their change didn’t come from a cup. It came through the good news of Jesus along with the time for challenging conversations, constant encouragement, and steadfast accountability that characterize genuine friendship.

Let’s change the culture about panhandling in Joplin.

When you see someone with a sign, get to know that individual or send him or her to Watered Gardens so we can. And when you have extra change or time on your hands, remember that giving to effective charities is a way to be a part of real solutions by engaging the poor and homeless relationally, responsibly, and compassionately.

Listen to our #GiveBetter PSAs

If you hand me a meal today, what about tomorrow?

Tomorrow, I’ll be hungry again with no resolution of my poverty in sight. That’s what happens when my surface needs are elevated above my deep, root needs. To link arms with and learn from leaders across the nation attacking the roots of poverty, check out the 2021 True Charity Summit.

Neither of us wants me on this corner. What gives?

Your cash, while well-intended, encourages me to stay stuck on this corner. Would your charity look different if you viewed me as smart, capable, and worthy? Learn how to uphold my dignity and call out my capacity at True Charity University- Exchange.

Your cash isn’t the answer. What is?

In spite of what my sign says, my true need is almost certainly not for cash; it’s for relationship. Relationships deliver love, accountability, and guidance—something your $10 bill could never do. To learn more about the importance of real relationships in elevating me out of my poverty, check out True Charity University- Bonding.

Your cash won’t get me off this corner. What will?

To resolve my poverty, I need more than loose change and fast food to go. In fact, your ten dollar bills entice me to stay on this corner, trapped in my misery. Local missions, churches, and individuals who know my name and will stay with me for the long haul can deliver the help I need. To collaborate with other charities and churches committed to my wellbeing, join the True Charity network.


#GiveBetter by investing your time and building relationships with those in need.


#GiveBetter by investing your money in efforts that are relational and responsible.

Thank you to the many private donors and business sponsors who are encouraging all of us to #GiveBetter.

True Charity is an initiative of Watered Gardens Ministries.

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