Saturday, June 18, 2011

Running the Charity Gauntlet in front of JP Licks

This man in front of the Jamaica Plain Post Office has just run the charity gauntlet in front of JP Licks. Wikipedia defines Running the Gauntlet this way:

Running the gauntlet (originally gantlet, and, rarely, gantlope or gantelope) is a form of physical punishment wherein a captive is compelled to run between two rows—a gauntlet—of soldiers who strike him as he passes.
Yesterday it was Planned Parenthood.

Charity Asking for Money on the Street
It seems like every time I walk by JP Licks, one charity or another is asking me for money. The solicitors work in pairs, and stand in such a way, to make sure they can approach every person.

I Give Online
My own policy for charity is that I select charities that I know and give to them online. I never give to people who come to the house, call on the phone, or ask for money on the street.

Well, there was this one time that I supported the local school and bought the $10 seeds in front of JP Licks. Those are coming up great.

The Charity Gauntlet Isn't Right
But back to the charity gauntlet.

It's not right.

I don't think we should have to walk through this gauntlet of charity solicitors every time I want to walk down the street in JP.

How do you feel about it?

Is it legal?

Do they need a license from the State Attorney's Office?


  1. Hello, I was directed to this post by Universal Hub. I have no idea about the legality of the charity solicitors, but I agree that it is unpleasant to be accosted while walking around in my neighborhood. No matter how ardently I support the particular charity, I will never donate directly to the canvasser because I don't want to encourage charities to use this method of raising funds. It's a terrible, soul-killing job for a young person to do, and it's annoying for the people who just want to enjoy a day outside.

  2. I am like you. I only make a limited amount each year. So at the beginning of the year, I decide who I want to give money to and how much. I don't ever give money or information out on the street. But I try to be nice to those kids because I use to canvas for Massequality.

    As far as the legality, I assume they have a first amendment right to be there. JP has gotten particularly bad lately...

  3. Anonymous11:29 AM

    I also came here from Universal Hub. I agree with you 100%. What irks me the most about these canvassers is that they'll say, "Do you have a minute to save the environment?" I want to point out to them that they are not asking for a minute of my time, they are asking for my money, and since I never donate to canvassers (like you, I research and donate online), there is no point in me stopping and listening to their spiel.

  4. Mary S1:50 PM

    Here in Northampton MA it's the "do you have a dollar?" gauntlet. "Got any spare change?" etc.

    OK, all well and good for people truly in need. If I've got something to spare, I'll toss a couple bucks to the homeless vets. But a lot of these are kids with hip haircuts and hundred-dollar sneakers on the lam from some granite-topped kitchen on Crescent Street. It gets old.

  5. Boston City Council Ordinance Against Aggressive Solicitation

    The ordinance defines aggressive solicitation as "approaching or following pedestrians, repetitive soliciting despite refusals, threatening or intimidating behavior, unwanted physical contact or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic."

    Furthermore, the ordinance restricts any solicitation within ten feet of any ATMs or bank entrances or exits, on the grounds that solicitations in these areas are "especially troublesome because of the enhanced fear of crime in those confined environments."

    Penalties for violation of the ordinance include a $50 fine for the first offense and a $100 fine for subsequent offenses, or court-determined community service hours.