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Real Change Dayton: Giving directly to panhandlers not the best way to help those in need

— Officials say a little change can go a long way in the right hands.

Real Change Dayton — the campaign launched in June 2017 to encourage people to donate to nonprofits rather than panhandlers — has collected more than $1,500 through its retired parking meters placed in downtown Dayton, website and a text-to-give campaign (text “REALCHANGE” to 71777).

In addition, Val Beerbower, a spokeswoman for the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said about 30 packages of adult underwear were collected this week as part of a challenge to promote the campaign.

The money and underwear will be given to St. Vincent de Paul, a nonprofit that provides shelter and services to the needy.

This campaign is ongoing and donations are still being accepted.

“We wanted to remind people who might be working or visiting downtown that while the decision to give is entirely their choice, there is a better way to give,” said Downtown Dayton Partnership President Sandra Gudorf said of Real Change in a press release. “We are fortunate to have a wide supplement to our social services network, and we wanted to make sure we promoted the good work these groups are doing.”

A Dayton panhandler shows his sign. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF(Staff Writer)

In addition to St. Vincent de Paul and the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the United Way of Greater Dayton, City of Dayton, Montgomery County Health and Human Services Department, Homefull, Goodwill Easter Seals and other local nonprofits are involved with the campaign.

Each year, a different nonprofit will be selected to receive the money donated.

“What people might not realize is you can give a dollar to someone standing with a sign at the intersection, but that same dollar can be stretched farther when it’s donated to a local nonprofit or social service agency,” said Tracy Sibbing, vice president of community impact at United Way, said as part of that press release. “These organizations have built extensive networks and can leverage donations to maximize the number of people who can receive benefits. Real Change Dayton will help these nonprofits continue their great work and get people back on their feet. Our ultimate goal is to help those in need to change their futures for the better.”