Letter: Panhandling in Wilton

To the Editors:
I am writing to share my recent experience with the man who is panhandling in our town. I already shared this information with a local Facebook page and many others have shared a similar experience where they tried to help him but he refuses to accept any help other than cash.
I went out of my way to look for employment for him after he told me he was unemployed. The Stop & Shop manager welcomed him as they are in dire need of help. The man refused this offer. If you are broke that means you cannot afford food, electricity or the train ticket from the Bronx to Wilton ($34 round-trip). It all doesn’t add up.
I’ve learned the Wilton Police Department has identified that he lives in the Bronx, not Norwalk as he claims. He takes the train to and from the Bronx to do this. He has a so-called $1,700 electric bill pending “turn off” for more than months. I forgot to pay my $120 bill for my home once and received a turn-off notice. My entire electric bill for the year is just more than that.
I’m all for helping people which is why I went out of my way to do so, but I brought the horse to water and he didn’t drink. We are a very generous community. My stepdaughter and family benefited from it after my stepdaughter was diagnosed with leukemia. It is extremely upsetting to see the goodness of the people of Wilton be taken advantage of by someone who wants the easy way out.
This community all works hard to be able to live here and provide for their families. No one should be taken advantage of. I am preparing some information about a law that was put into place in the state of Washington where they have been able to stop this kind of activity. My hope is the Board of Selectmen will look into this. Seems there may be some precedence for this.
If nothing else, please help us spread the word of truth so that our community can make an informed decision. If there is no money being given then there will be no one there to beg for it.
John Schiaroli
Wilton, March 23