Deciding what to give a panhandler can be a tough choice.

People who work with the homeless recommend handing out something besides money, such as food, toiletries or information about how to get assistance.

Alice McGee, director of the Church in the Woods, a ministry for the homeless, suggests people keep plastic bags full of snacks, fast food coupons, bandages and other items in their cars so they have something to give to the needy they meet on the Triangle's roads. That way, they can help without wondering whether their donations will be used to buy alcohol or drugs.