I operate on the principle that I'd rather be taken in than miss an angel," says Pastor Michael Easley. "But anyone in ministry knows that the transient network is often faster than a fax. Five dollars given to one will generate a host of similar requests."
Not wanting to be cynical nor to be taken too many times, Easley developed some specific procedures at Grand Prairie (Texas) Bible Church.
When a transient asks for help, the staff explains that the church will be glad to assist but does not dispense cash. Instead, the staff asks those requesting help to fill out a Person-In-Need form. The form asks for information about place of employment, nearest relative, last church membership, and names and ages of family members.
When this information is sought, 10 percent of the requests are withdrawn. Easley believes those people probably didn't have a legitimate need.
If someone indicates association with a church, he is told that his own church probably has funds for assistance. ...1