WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Brittany Thomas seems like any typical mother with children on the playground, but her family is homeless.

She told FOX8, “We’ve been hit hard by COVID. We’ve been in hotels.”

She was working as a cook when she was diagnosed with COVID-19, and a string of bad decisions and bad luck followed.

Thankfully, the Salvation Army of Winston-Salem was there. They operate the only homeless shelter for families in Forsyth County where they provide beds and meals but also lessons on life skills. They can provide those services because of community support.

“The money is being put to good use and we are being good stewards of those donations,” said Bob Campbell with the Salvation Army.

FOX8 On Your Side wondered about all of the people you see on street corners asking that you give them money instead. Drive around any city in the Piedmont Triad and you’re bound to happen upon a panhandler.

Greensboro used to require a permit but changed that in 2018, Now city ordinance lists strict rules for panhandlers. That’s similar to what High Point and Burlington have too. Panhandlers aren’t allowed near banks, ATMS, or in busy shopping areas.

So far this year, Greensboro police told FOX8 they’ve had 17 service calls related panhandlers, but no charges filed.

Whether it’s done legally or not, panhandling will continue. You have to decide if you’ll support it with your money.

Brittany told us she’d rather you put those dollars in the hands of organizations like the one helping her.