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Father Dollar Bill Gives Cash to Skid Row Residents, Doesn't Care How They Spend It

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Father Dollar Bill (a.k.a. Reverend Maurice Chase) was at it again yesterday, handing out money on Skid Row. While he often hands out money to downtown residents in need, Christmas is his no-holds-barred attempt to spread a little more love in the form of Christmas cash.

Skid row residents have lined up every year for 24 years to see what luck might come their way from Father Dollar Bill on Christmas Day. Reverend Chase gives the first 10 people in wheelchairs $100. Other residents in line often get $20 or less.

What do they spend it on? Groceries, wheelchair repairs, bicycles and French fries. What else do they spend it on? Drugs and alcohol. Critics of Reverend Chase worry the Christmas cash extravaganza often puts money in the wrong hands -- hands of skid row residents who will not spend the money "wisely" but will use it to get high and get drunk.

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In today's LA Times profile, it's clear that Father Dollar Bill knows the score and will continue handing out money anyway:

People in line often tell him how they'll spend it -- on hamburgers, ice cream and other treats they can't get at the shelters. He knows they're as likely to spend it on booze and drugs. But he says he doesn't care. That's not the point. The point is to show them that they are not forgotten.

If the huge crowd gathered to see Rev. Chase yesterday morning is any indication of how many people feel they've been remembered, his goal has been achieved.Photo by smellyknee via Flickr