Giving food or drinks to homeless people

What reason are you giving them? Do you give them a reason at all why you got them a coffee or whatever? I usually said I bought too much, I was given a free coffee along with my food etc. The other day, I gave a homeless man the coffee I had to buy along with a food item, and he looked so longingly at my sandwich. I had another branch to shop around the corner so I asked him what I could get him. I almost felt bad when he was so grateful. But then he looked so hungry I would have bought him one either way.

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I don't typically give a reason when I buy a homeless person something. Besides the idea that they look like they could use it, and I can afford it at the time, I don't suppose there is reason else to give. I usually walk up with a smile and tell them "You looked like you could use this" and accept their thanks and wish them better days ahead. Homelessness is rare in my area due to the amount of southern churches, couches, and homeless shelters, but we do occasionally see someone every few months or so that has wandered off the interstate from traveling and walked to town.

MegglesKat


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2017 12:26AM by clinen11.
I gave a homeless person an apple I had left over from lunch. He threw it at me when I walked away.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
@HonnyBrown wrote:

I gave a homeless person an apple I had left over from lunch. He threw it at me when I walked away.

I learned the hard way to let these homeless people be, regardless on how genuine your intentions are. I've had similar experiences like this too...

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 29 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
Yeah, that was the last time. If I want to help the homeless, I will make a donation to a shelter.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
Come on, threw it at you? Did you ask if they would like the apple? The majority of "homeless" do take refuge in shelters over night. There are some that have social issues whom don't like being given things without being given a choice. Just like if you walked up to me at a bus stop and just handed me an apple. You may have insulted them by assuming they wanted a handout? I've walked up with a bag of apples and asked if anyone would like them. I've been told no, yes, sometimes directed to a different location near by where they would be more appreciated. Same with clothing I hand out. My purpose is to find someone that needs or appreciates the item.

The ones that throw stuff or holler understand that their actions result in sympathy by others that will offer them money. Then they go buy cigarettes (soda, water, beer, socks), or whatever it is they actually want.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
No, I didn't talk to him first. The sign around his neck said "Money for food," or something of that nature. I gave him my apple. He threw it at me.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
@HonnyBrown wrote:

No, I didn't talk to him first. The sign around his neck said "Money for food," or something of that nature. I gave him my apple. He threw it at me.

The economy is bad and people are struggling, but pretty much NOBODY needs to beg for food in this country. There are food pantries and soup kitchens just about anywhere (not to mention "food stamps"/EBT). "Money for food" usually means money for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. Consequently, panhandlers get pissed off if someone actually tries to feed them, especially with something of minimal value such as an apple.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2017 01:06AM by Kenzie.
@Kenzie wrote:

@HonnyBrown wrote:

No, I didn't talk to him first. The sign around his neck said "Money for food," or something of that nature. I gave him my apple. He threw it at me.

The economy is bad and people are struggling, but pretty much NOBODY needs to beg for food in this country. There are food pantries and soup kitchens just about anywhere (not to mention "food stamps"/EBT). "Money for food" usually means money for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. Consequently, panhandlers get pissed off if someone actually tries to feed them, especially with something of minimal value such as an apple.

sestrahelena
I rarely have enough drugs and alcohol to spare (JK, I don't really have any). I saw one guy whose sign said, "Won't lie...Just need a beer." Points for honesty!

sestrahelena
I had two coffees that I had to buy for a shop. I definitely wanted one, but couldn't drink two. I offered it to a homeless woman and told her that I had bought one for a friend who didn't show up. She said yes and seemed grateful. Then I said it had milk in it and she then said she didn't want it because she was vegan. I see her all the time. Next time I won't put in the milk now that I know she's vegan. She wasn't rude.
@Keppi wrote:

What reason are you giving them? Do you give them a reason at all why you got them a coffee or whatever? I usually said I bought too much, I was given a free coffee along with my food etc. The other day, I gave a homeless man the coffee I had to buy along with a food item, and he looked so longingly at my sandwich. I had another branch to shop around the corner so I asked him what I could get him. I almost felt bad when he was so grateful. But then he looked so hungry I would have bought him one either way.

Short answer: They do not need a reason. Do it in a kind and intentional way.

It comes down to whom you are doing it for, them or yourself. A few months ago I was going to offer my coffee. I noticed the man already had two of them. I asked if he was allergic to eggs or ham. He smiled and said he wasn't, i gave him my croissant which he thanked me for then actually ate it. My treating him HUMANELY was more important than the food. I can quietly and anonymously donate money or food to shelters. That's what most people are comfortable with and yes avoids having someone throw an apple at you.

What I've found is if I ask the person if they want an apple, they can feel less like no one cares even if they say no. If I walk or drive by them every day, I will eventually discover something they can use. Personally, I stopped giving money as I witnessed it lead to several bad things including death from drug or alcohol abuse. Kind of disturbing to learn a person died on the street after collecting enough money to get a fix.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2017 02:38AM by isaiah58.
I had an undesirable experience with a homeless guy at a mcdonalds shop. Guy stroked up a conversation with me, talked about Jesus, and at the end he wanted me to give him money to buy a mcfish sandwich. I only had a few dollars on me so I offered him 2 dollars. He asked for more money to buy the mcfish sandwich and said if I had a debit/credit card, which I didn't have on me. Kept insisting that I drove a nice car and implying I had money on me. When I drove back home, I pondered the situation and realized that the guy was doing his whole nice/religious guy act in order for me to feel guilty and give him money at the end.

That whole experience turned me off from giving money to the homeless.

Dude on the freeway exit had a similar sign. I gave him a beer from my six pack. He was grateful.

Points for honesty!

@sestrahelena wrote:

I rarely have enough drugs and alcohol to spare (JK, I don't really have any). I saw one guy whose sign said, "Won't lie...Just need a beer." Points for honesty!

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
This was in the 90s when I was in college.

I won't apologize for my donation to a homeless person having "minimal value."

@Kenzie wrote:

@HonnyBrown wrote:

No, I didn't talk to him first. The sign around his neck said "Money for food," or something of that nature. I gave him my apple. He threw it at me.

The economy is bad and people are struggling, but pretty much NOBODY needs to beg for food in this country. There are food pantries and soup kitchens just about anywhere (not to mention "food stamps"/EBT). "Money for food" usually means money for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. Consequently, panhandlers get pissed off if someone actually tries to feed them, especially with something of minimal value such as an apple.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
@HonnyBrown wrote:

This was in the 90s when I was in college.

I won't apologize for my donation to a homeless person having "minimal value."

It was a kind gesture on your part, and you have nothing to apologize for. My point was that people who ask for "money for food" usually aren't interested in food.
Denver now looks like Orange Co, CA with all the homeless. It's supposed to be illegal, but, at every freeway exit, they're there. Inside the grocery store last week, a ruffled looking man was asking for like .72 cents.. ?? I worked/volunteered at a food bank locally a few years ago (they closed) so I can understand it. What I'm sick of seeing is the homeless that have enough money for a pkg of cigarettes ?.. some are in their 20s .. my husband said his ex wife and him would give these people (no Cal) a bag of fast food and they'd decline.. they wanted cash.. so, no, i usually ignore it.. we are hurting ourselves these days.
Tulsa we literally have 100 freeway on off ramps in this Route 66 town. There is 1-3 homeless, vets, beggars at every freeway exit and entrance. I donate through a charity because sadly so many of them are on meth. sad smiley <3
@amberngriffinco wrote:

Denver now looks like Orange Co, CA with all the homeless. It's supposed to be illegal, but, at every freeway exit, they're there. Inside the grocery store last week, a ruffled looking man was asking for like .72 cents.. ?? I worked/volunteered at a food bank locally a few years ago (they closed) so I can understand it. What I'm sick of seeing is the homeless that have enough money for a pkg of cigarettes ?.. some are in their 20s .. my husband said his ex wife and him would give these people (no Cal) a bag of fast food and they'd decline.. they wanted cash.. so, no, i usually ignore it.. we are hurting ourselves these days.

"Now?" It's been like this here even back in the 90's....

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 29 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
We few off ramp beggars here, so I do give them money if the mood strikes me. It did today, the guy was at least 70. I decided long ago that when I give it isn't about them, it's about me, and what kind of person I want to be. So I don't really care what they did with it. I did the right thing and thats all I care about.

I had a funny incident happen recently. I did a pizza shop and got a 2nd pizza free. It was a highly bonused shop in a really small town. I typically take the pizzas to the homeless shelter and give them away. There was no shelter so I approached two people coming out of the grocery store with just a few things. I asked if they would like the pizzas, and made up a story about having gift cards that were about to expire. They burst out laughing and said they had just started a diet that day. As I turned away to find someone else I heard the woman say "what are the chances?"

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
@sestrahelena wrote:

@Kenzie wrote:

@HonnyBrown wrote:

No, I didn't talk to him first. The sign around his neck said "Money for food," or something of that nature. I gave him my apple. He threw it at me.

The economy is bad and people are struggling, but pretty much NOBODY needs to beg for food in this country. There are food pantries and soup kitchens just about anywhere (not to mention "food stamps"/EBT). "Money for food" usually means money for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. Consequently, panhandlers get pissed off if someone actually tries to feed them, especially with something of minimal value such as an apple.

I don't know where you are, but where I am, you CANNOT get food stamps/EBT unless you have an address and ACCESS to a kitchen where you can cook. I'm not really sure of the reasoning behind that. Also there are restrictions -- you can't use them to purchase "prepared food", like in a restaurant. But you certainly can buy plenty of sodas and chips and cookies and "processed" food. Obviously, if you're homeless, you don't have an address, or access to a kitchen or other "cooking facility". And since you're homeless, by definition you don't have a refrigerator or storage, so you must get food every DAY, or buy food that can be kept without refrigeration or safe storage.

Haven't you ever heard of "food deserts"? Many people -- not just homeless -- have limited access to healthy food.

I have been homeless and without income. But I had a CAR, which made me infinitely wealthy compared to others. I HAVE begged for food; I have stood in a parking lot and told passers-by "I'm sorry to bother you, but I lost my job, and I have no money. I am hungry. I have $2, and I can get a chicken in WalMart for $5. Could you possibly spare $3?" No one was ever rude. In fact, the kindness of most people left me in tears.

There is no soup kitchen within 60 miles of me.

The closest food pantry is 12 miles away.

There was no public transit system until last year; we now have a bus that will deliver commodities and food bank boxes. The bus charges $5 per delivery. The $5 fee is covered by donors for those who cannot afford it; but these are NOT homeless people. The bus delivers to HOMES.

According to government "health statistics" that I read somewhere last week, about 19% of the adult population smokes cigarettes -- and 78% of those smokers live at income levels below Federal "poverty" levels. Only 1 in 11 of people who make more than $75,000 a year smokes cigarettes.

I didn't mean to rant, but I have been "down and out" -- and I feel that if someone hasn't been, they have no right to judge. You know, the old "walk a mile in his shoes" saying -- if you haven't been there, you have no idea how demeaning/degrading the whole thing is.

If you want to donate, I suggest The Salvation Army. They go directly to where the homeless are and hand out mittens, blankets, warm hats, and sandwiches, with no strings attached. And they do it without judgement and with GREAT compassion.

I know, because I was a recipient.
I know talking about the homeless plight and what they do with the money you give, will they accept the handout, etc...has gotten off the intent of the original poster. But since we are already there...
I don't see a lot of homeless in my area. There are plenty of them around, I just don't see them because yeah, a lot of churches, shelters, etc... and kind people exist.
I admit when I lived in a bigger city and I saw panhandlers or people with signs I'd ignore them most of the time just because of those stats that say many spend the money on alcohol or cigs.
But then i realized you know what? So what? If a bottle or a cigarette helps them make it through the night, so be it. Most would prefer to have an address to call their own, a place to bath every day, and a steady income to just buy an apple, a beer and a pack of menthols.
But if you can't give them those things, what you can give them is a little respect, and whatever money you can afford to give, and if they spend it on chicken, great, if they spend it on Jack Daniels, great.
@Keppi wrote:

What reason are you giving them? Do you give them a reason at all why you got them a coffee or whatever? I usually said I bought too much, I was given a free coffee along with my food etc. The other day, I gave a homeless man the coffee I had to buy along with a food item, and he looked so longingly at my sandwich. I had another branch to shop around the corner so I asked him what I could get him. I almost felt bad when he was so grateful. But then he looked so hungry I would have bought him one either way.

I applaud you giving to the needy!

I think you could just say that you bought extra and don't want to waste it. I would not explain that I was a mystery shopper, because that blows your cover to someone and I'm not sure that's allowed.

Also, it's technically true that you bought "extra" in that you may not be able to eat it after doing other food shops or just aren't hungry. Of course, you knew you were buying "extra" for a shop, but still...I'm sure a homeless person would not care about the reason and would just be thankful for the food!

I think something like:

"I bought an extra _____________ today. Would you happen to want _______________, because I don't want to waste it."

Something like that could work. I don't encounter many homeless people in the suburbs here, but I do give cash to panhandlers around the Walmart here where they hang out. I have actually even given someone my Walmart gift card, because I didn't have cash on me, but the gift card had $5 and we were right in front of it.
I was just going to say the same thing. If you are homeless and a beer makes you feel happy for a few hours then go buy a beer. I get told to stop giving cash to the homeless. But I do it anyways. I had a few regular freeway exits that I deemed as mine and I took care of those few people. Who cares what they use the money for. I started making large Ziploc bags with a few necessities in it and handing those out. Clean socks, a hat, a bottle of water, hand warmers, all things I collected from my own scores.Then I just keep them in my car and hand them out at street corners where I may be stopped by the light. We have a lot of homeless people, resources are all full because housing here is really hard to find, even for people with the means. Then there is the whole cycle that you need a job to get a place, but you don't have a home to shower and keep clean clothes to go to a job or an address for an application. I just try not to judge. I've been broke before, thank God never homeless, and sometimes a few dollars was a big deal to me. Now that I don't have to struggle I try to help. I usually will ask that they pass it on and help someone else if they get the chance and they always say I do or I will. Just good karma.
@catlassy wrote:

You still did the right thing to give him an apple. His ingratitude is his own issue. Don' give up on being kind because of some malcontents.

I can understand a reluctance to give to a homeless person in some situations. I don't judge others for why they may or may not give.

I was hanging out in a busy restaurant area in DC with a friend a few years ago and we came across a homeless person who asked for money. I knew 100% that I didn't have cash on me and that my friend did. We had just come out of a restaurant for dinner and he was treating me that night. I saw him pay with cash and have change.

But, to my surprise, my friend actually quickly said sorry and walked on by. After we passed the homeless person for 15-20 seconds, he said that he never gives to homeless people on the street, because of his cousin's bad experience. He said his cousin offered to give one time and the homeless person pulled a knife once his wallet was out and in sight. He had to run away for his own safety. After that scary incident, my friend said they both never gave again to people on the street.

Instead, they gave to organizations.

That made sense to me and I didn't judge him for it. I can understand how a scary situation like that really make you think twice. I do still give to people in person, but I might think twice too if it was in an isolated area and not many people were around (esp. a dark alley LOL!). Safety is important too and no one can really judge you for not giving in those situations.

It's like I'd NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER pick up a hitch hiker I don't think. I mean...unless it was an old lady with like a young baby grandchild type of thing. But I'm not picking up a young male most likely. It just seems too scary to do. You don't know who you're dealing with.

God bless those who courageously give and help others! They have good hearts!! I just think we can't judge in either direction as to why someone may or may not give or why a homeless person may be asking for money. We can't know and there may be good reasons. Maybe a person chooses not to give, because of fear for their safety. And, likewise, maybe a homeless person is really just in need of basic necessities (and not out to buy drugs as is the stereotype, which I think is mostly likely false for most people who are homeless).

Edited: When I said "false," I meant most likely the stereotype if false if taht wasn't clear. I tend to think most homeless people asking for money are not out to buy drugs. Of course, some are.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2017 10:26AM by shoptastic.
People often think because someone is homeless they should accept anything given to them. They are still people and should be treated as such.

Sometimes they need money for medicine and sanitary items such a tampons or even clothes, or dog food.

I always ask before I offer and if I'm feeling extra generous I'll invite someone to come with me while I buy them a meal and I'll allow them to order.
I rarely see any homeless people or beggars where I am, but one time when I was out with my kids we saw a man with a "will work for food" sign. I thought it would be a good learning experience for the kids, so we went to Meijers down the street and bought a few bottles of water (it was 90 degrees out), an apple, some chips and cookies. When we drove back to him 10 minutes later, he was gone. We searched all up and down the street and he had vanished. Maybe he had a ride? I was disappointed that we couldn't give him the stuff, but it definitely made an impression on my children.
Cease, thank you for sharing your story.

I've never been homeless, starving or "down and out." The closest that I've ever come to being without food was spending my grocery budget on shoes. Even then, I still had dried beans, frozen meats and fresh veggies and fruits in my kitchen.

I volunteer at a Farmers' Market on Sundays. One day there were some fliers to participate in a focus group. It was on food deserts. I had never heard of these before the focus group. I live in a suburban area of Washington DC. I have a car, I know how to use the subway, and I live walking distance to a mall.

There were people at this focus group who did not live in areas similar to me. When this one lady's car broke down, she realized that there were no markets in walking distance. She had to rely on 7-11 type food, since that was walking distance from her.

This one man was arriving at Wegman's at 6am on Saturdays to do his weekly shopping. He had to drive an hour each way.

Food deserts do exist.

@ceasesmith wrote:

@sestrahelena wrote:

@Kenzie wrote:

@HonnyBrown wrote:

No, I didn't talk to him first. The sign around his neck said "Money for food," or something of that nature. I gave him my apple. He threw it at me.

The economy is bad and people are struggling, but pretty much NOBODY needs to beg for food in this country. There are food pantries and soup kitchens just about anywhere (not to mention "food stamps"/EBT). "Money for food" usually means money for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. Consequently, panhandlers get pissed off if someone actually tries to feed them, especially with something of minimal value such as an apple.

I don't know where you are, but where I am, you CANNOT get food stamps/EBT unless you have an address and ACCESS to a kitchen where you can cook. I'm not really sure of the reasoning behind that. Also there are restrictions -- you can't use them to purchase "prepared food", like in a restaurant. But you certainly can buy plenty of sodas and chips and cookies and "processed" food. Obviously, if you're homeless, you don't have an address, or access to a kitchen or other "cooking facility". And since you're homeless, by definition you don't have a refrigerator or storage, so you must get food every DAY, or buy food that can be kept without refrigeration or safe storage.

Haven't you ever heard of "food deserts"? Many people -- not just homeless -- have limited access to healthy food.

I have been homeless and without income. But I had a CAR, which made me infinitely wealthy compared to others. I HAVE begged for food; I have stood in a parking lot and told passers-by "I'm sorry to bother you, but I lost my job, and I have no money. I am hungry. I have $2, and I can get a chicken in WalMart for $5. Could you possibly spare $3?" No one was ever rude. In fact, the kindness of most people left me in tears.

There is no soup kitchen within 60 miles of me.

The closest food pantry is 12 miles away.

There was no public transit system until last year; we now have a bus that will deliver commodities and food bank boxes. The bus charges $5 per delivery. The $5 fee is covered by donors for those who cannot afford it; but these are NOT homeless people. The bus delivers to HOMES.

According to government "health statistics" that I read somewhere last week, about 19% of the adult population smokes cigarettes -- and 78% of those smokers live at income levels below Federal "poverty" levels. Only 1 in 11 of people who make more than $75,000 a year smokes cigarettes.

I didn't mean to rant, but I have been "down and out" -- and I feel that if someone hasn't been, they have no right to judge. You know, the old "walk a mile in his shoes" saying -- if you haven't been there, you have no idea how demeaning/degrading the whole thing is.

If you want to donate, I suggest The Salvation Army. They go directly to where the homeless are and hand out mittens, blankets, warm hats, and sandwiches, with no strings attached. And they do it without judgement and with GREAT compassion.

I know, because I was a recipient.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
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