Signs for change: Rally held in Holland against panhandling

Posted at 8:34 PM, Aug 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-02 20:34:01-04

HOLLAND, Mich. - They are a group of people known for confronting others who claim to be homeless and beg for money on street corners across West Michigan.

Saturday a handful of the members of the Facebook group called 'West Michigan Hardly Homeless Panhandlers' held signs of their own at the corner of James Street and US 31 in Holland.

The signs contained slogans like, "Real change not spare change".

The group claims to be encouraging people to help find a solution to homelessness other than hand money out a car window.

One of the organizers of the demonstration Dawn Tilley said, "Real change is to help the homeless.  It's to go down and donate your time, your money and if you have canned goods, food, or coats for the kids, that is where you go."

FOX 17 first introduced you to this group in July.  Members of the group encouraging people to post interactions with panhandlers to the Facebook page.  One such video shows a person holding a cell phone and confronting a man with as he holds a sign asking for money from passing drivers.  The video ensues the the person is only posing as a homeless person.

FOX 17 also spoke to one of the targets of the groups confrontation a couple days later.  A 20-year-old named Jesse Dyer defended his actions and said he really was homeless.

"They don't know me," he said.  "They don't understand what I go through everyday.  "They're just out to get Facebook famous."

Sarah Tufflemire attended the demonstration on Saturday.

"They think that we are attacking homeless people but we are not," she said.  "We are against the people who say they are homeless and really in reality they are not."

The actions of the group have been dubbed by some as the 'Panhandler Paparazzi' but they argue their mission goes beyond exposing alleged bogus beggars.

They want to encourage people to give to local rescue missions where they say real change can occur.