SPARE ME A DIME
Cambridge, always a community infested with beggars, deserving or otherwise, has in this particular taken a decided turn for the worse during the depression. To the company of the old lady with the remarkably heavy bundle have joined themselves amateurs of all descriptions, young and old, tough and tender, sober and heary, but with the one symbol of their Freemasonry, the refrain "Could jalemme have a dime for a cuppa coffee Mister?" which of these poor wretches are deserving are merely down on their luck, and which are moochers, beggars pure and simple, the casual passerby can hardly determine. If that casual passerby have any of the elements of humanity in him he cannot give all a curt refusal, and if he be a worldly passerby he will shrink from trusting them with nothing more than the address of an already harassed and bankrupt charity. The obligation exacted by hungry eyes and haggard faces is more immediate than that.
The only near solution to the problem is that discovered by Detroit. There some philanthropist has established a "Penny Cafeteria," a restaurant which sells food at the price of one cent a dish. The place is clean and respectable, and it differs from soup kitchen in that those who patronize it suffer no more in morale than the patrons of the Georgian restaurant or the University dining halls. Detroiters may buy in the downtown stores tokens designed for sidewalk charity, worth a cent each at the "Penny Cafeteria," but honored as currency nowhere else. Thus the casual passerby is assured that the object of his generosity is not a beggar controlled by a racket, and that he gets something better for his money than needled beer. It is not an ideal plan, but these are not ideal times, and the system excludes most of the evils of panhandling.