• Movement calls for texting of donations to discourage downtown Orlando panhandling

    By: Christopher Boyce , Michael Lopardi

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fl. - A campaign is calling for people to text donations instead of handing over spare change downtown.

    It's all a part of Give Smart Orlando's message that "spare change doesn't help." 

    Thomas Chatmon of the city's Downtown Development Board said the campaign was launched following increased complaints about panhandling.

    "This is an alternative for people who want to help, but don't want to have that transaction," Chatmon said.

    Lonnie Watkins is homeless. He has his reservations about the campaign.

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    "Is that gonna stop people from coming out here and still asking for donations? No, I can tell you that straight up," Watkins said. "No."

    Those who opt for the campaign can choose how they'd like to help and the United Way will steer the money to agencies that offer services. About 15 percent of the donation will cover operation costs and credit card processing fees.

    The United Way said the campaign has raised $1,000 as of January 11. 

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