Business owners voice concerns about panhandlers using children as ‘props’ in Woodmere

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:19 PM EDT
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WOODMERE, Ohio (WOIO) - Amanda Kurkland, owner Corky & Lenny’s Restaurant & Deli, in Woodmere. says, enough is enough.

She says for months, she’s watched panhandlers line Chagrin Boulevard and lately it’s gotten worse.

Panhandlers with children on Chagrin Boulevard raising safety concerns. Woodmere Police have...
Panhandlers with children on Chagrin Boulevard raising safety concerns. Woodmere Police have received several reports about the children's welfare.(Village of Woodmere)

“Clearly they’re just doing that, having their children involved in order to get the sympathy to get more money, the problem is, it’s not safe,” said Kurkland.

19 NEWS first reported this story after Mayor Ben Holbert reached out to Cuyahoga County Social Services. He worries some of the children left in strollers and car seats may get seriously hurt.

Monday afternoon, 19 News cameras rolled as a woman and 2 children posted up on Chagrin Blvd. The woman held a sign soliciting money for about 5 minutes before she spotted the news crew recording and then abruptly packed up her things and walked away.

Kurkland says she’s offered some of the panhandlers jobs but says they’ve all refused.

Panhandlers with children on Chagrin Boulevard raising safety concerns. Woodmere Police have...
Panhandlers with children on Chagrin Boulevard raising safety concerns. Woodmere Police have received several reports about the children's welfare.(Village of Woodmere)

Now, she wants the community at large to think about the children’s welfare.

“What I would like is for people to stop giving them money, obviously that’s sort of an educational campaign, again, please do give but to organizations, not individuals and besides that, I don’t want their children to be out with them, it’s just not safe, there has to be another way,” said Kurkland.

A Cuyahoga County social services team has made contact with some of those people and is investigating. I’ll you updated as new details emerge.