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I feel Gina Petersen's quandary about wanting to help beggars with signs but also wanting to not be duped ("Signs of the times," Forum, May 12). No one wants to give money to someone who will use it for drugs or booze.

I liked the idea I read in a letter about giving gift cards to Subway or McDonald's so that you know your money will go for food.

Better still, give money to a local humanitarian program. Salt Lake has several good free meals services.

The best way for beggars to get help is for them to go to a program that can provide work skills and treatment for mental health or addiction.

It's tough love to not give a buck to a beggar, but if you regularly give to a charity that helps them, that should help ease your guilt.

Melanie Clark

Salt Lake City

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