Albuquerque panhandling initiative struggles to get donations

4 people donate in 3 weeks

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s been more than three weeks since the Mayor’s Office started asking the people of Albuquerque to give money to charities instead of panhandlers, but the new initiative is struggling.

The initiative called “There’s a Better Way” has only raised $170 since it began nearly a month ago.

“That amount is pretty shocking,” said Joey Keefe. “You would think it would be a lot higher.”

Even with all of the media coverage and campaign signs posted around town, few people know about the campaign.

“It’s new information to me,” said Rebecca Fleming.

Only four people out of the more than 500,000 people who live in the Duke City have donated to the cause, while other fundraisers around town are thriving.

One of those thriving fundraisers includes a GoFundMe page for a local dog suffering from cancer. In the last week, the pup has raised $3,000 from a total of 72 people.

“It’s so early. I mean it has been three weeks. Certainly, we didn’t expect drastic donations initially,” said Albuquerque Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano.

Montano said the new campaign, which encourages people to stop handing out cash to panhandlers and to start donating to the United Way of Central New Mexico, will take time to catch on.

“It’s a systems change. It’s an incredible, incredible change that definitely won’t happen overnight,” he said.

The city is launching an advertising campaign to go along with it’s “There’s a Better Way” initiative. It will include billboards and PSA’s telling people how they can help those in need. However, not everyone thinks it will work.

“You see them on the corner when you’re making a turn at a red light, now thats when you see somebody who might be in need, but I don’t think about it eight hours later when my day is over,” said Rebecca Fleming.

More than half the $170 that was donated came from one person. That person has also pledged to give $100 for the next eight months.

Nearly 500 people have called 311 asking questions about the new panhandling initiative.

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