To give a homeless man a meal deal rather than the money?

(385 Posts)

There is a homeless man sat outside the Tesco Express with a little cup asking for money. Instead of giving him
Money I went inside and bought him a meal deal (crisps, ham sandwich and drink) and gave that to him. He was very polite and grateful about it and I thought nothing more of it until my friend then later accused me of being patronising by presenting him with food rather than te money.
When I lived in South Aftica I would often give food rather than money as in many cases the money went on drinks and drugs etc.
Am I being unreasonable to "control" the expenditure of this man (as put by friend) and not just give him money. I'm quite concerned now that he would have been offended, as my friend certainly thinks so!

confused

Last time I gave to a homeless person it was a sleeping bag and an old pillow and a big bar of chocolate. I had just washed and dried them I will hasten to add and I was going to drop them in the charity shop in the morning, he appeared opposite our house and he looked cold so I gave then to him instead, he got the chocolate because I'd just come out of the shop with 2 bars so I shared. Was that wrong? Maybe, but you can't go through life constantly rehashing every event, ooh! Did I offend them.. etc You were trying to be helpful and kind OP, you were, stop worrying about your friend.

2aminthemorning Mon 04-Feb-13 01:22:55

OP
You've restored my faith in human nature. Thank you.

UPDATE: just gone past the same homeless man at the same tesco just like te other week.
Knowing better from this thread I said "I've not got any cash (true) but am going in (I actually wasn't but whatever) would you like anything?" he said "I'd love a coke, love" so I asked whether he'd like a meal deal and he requested a Ham Sandwich, Coke and Cheese and Onion crisps - The EXACT meal deal I'd given h before.
So there you go!

So there up go wasn't meant to be smug blush it was more of a relieved exclamation!

BoffinMum Fri 15-Feb-13 21:07:12

Perhaps he is a MNetter and saw your thread and is being polite! grinwink

Boff! grin
I'm just relieved I didn't present a ham sandwich to someone Jewish/Muslim/veggie!

determinedma Fri 15-Feb-13 21:31:54

Greensleeves you are being a complete arse. My brother is an alcoholic and at the moment, is being cared for by the family. But if, and when, he ends up on the streets again then I will pray that someone gives him food and not money. Food will keep him alive until he can be rescued. Money for alcohol will keep him on the streets. If you offer food and are rejected because the beggar feels demeaned - as if - then walk away and be proud of yourself for trying to help.

Molehillmountain Fri 15-Feb-13 21:38:26

Fwiw, op, you've reminded me to do this more often. The lad I asked if he would like a meal deal was very grateful. I asked him what sandwich he'd like and he seemed pleased to be asked. I'll take the risk that its patronising but I'm guessing not.

chipmonkey Fri 15-Feb-13 21:42:32

Good guess then, Seventh!grin

exBIL used to work for a homeless charity and he found that a lot of the young men he worked with were homeless as they had MH issues or SNs. One young man had no problems with drugs or alcohol but would get very stressed waiting in queues and couldn't stay in them for any length of time. Unfortunately, if you are homeless and want to be housed queues are an inevitability. ExBIL used to help him out by going to the welfare offices with him and calming him down intermittently till he got to the top of the queue. He got his flat.

In Dublin years ago, and I'm sure it still happens now, some parents would put their children on the streets to beg. My cousin passed one child and was giving her some money when the child said "Buy me chips" My cousin bought her a sandwich and a drink. She said the poor child devoured the sandwich and clearly hadn't eaten anything that day. sad She wanted to bring her home.

I do remember a radio presenter here also doing an experiment where he pretended to be homeless for a week, slept on the streets etc. He said the worst thing was not being acknowledged as a human being, ignored, passed by unheeded. One guy stopped to talk to him, bought him a coffee and chatted for a few minutes. And he recognised the kind stranger as being Michael Flatley of Lord of the Dance fame.

sad poor child

He seemed pleased to be asked and, bless him, only asked for a coke first. There was a worry in the back of my mind that he would ask for a bottle of fine whiskey or something grin but I actually had to offer for the sandwich!

BoffinMum Sat 16-Feb-13 08:30:29

I think saying hello and smiling and passing the time of day is an important part of it. There but for the grace of god is my personal motto.

missalien Sat 16-Feb-13 08:40:58

Mine too Boffin I love that saying

Well done Seventh!

TheFallenNinja Sat 16-Feb-13 09:09:02

Good for you. Money isn't always the answer.

ineedabodytransplant Mon 18-Feb-13 15:22:09

There has been a homeless chap around our local shops for the last couple of years. Never asks for anything, and generally whenever I see him he is reading a book. I got him a tea and started talking to him last year as the snow was pretty heavy, and asked him whether he wouldn't prefer to be indoors if possible, but he said he loved the outdoors. after talking I found out how he likes his drink/food etc so I often buy him a coffee, or a meal deal etc but I do speak to him and he because he is quite intelligent, a conversation is never a difficulty. And I always have a home for my paperbacks..

He is always grateful, but I am not doing it to gain brownie points, I do it just because I can.

Just lately a couple of other blokes have taken to hanging round the same shops. Totally different. Shoving cups in your face, asking outright for any change. Yet they smoke and have mobiles.

Their situation may be exactly the same as the first chap, but the way they go about it is so different. They get nothing, as it's my choice what I do with my money.

plaingirly Mon 18-Feb-13 17:36:56

I tend to ask the person what they want - there aren't many homeless people on the streets that I frequent now but I used to see a few regulars each day.

I know there was one man that I bought bacon sandwiches for most mornings - he actually said he preferred the food being bought for him as people in the shops gave him mucky looks when he went in with his sleeping bag.

RIZZ0 Mon 18-Feb-13 17:56:16

The op gave something to someone in need. So SWNBU.

I once gave a coat to someone homeless instead of a charity shop. He was very happy with it. He didn't berate me for assuming his style, or patronising him!
I think that's just some posters getting irate behalf for the sake of it. While they sit on their laptops and iPads, in the warm, being supercilious.

If you are in need and someone helps you, you can always say no thankyou to what is offered, can you not?

Everyone is different and will want to do different things. I used to give a sandwich to a homeless guy near my local shop whenever i didnt have cash on me, which i paid for on card. A sandwich is better than nothing, which would have been the alternative. Like the op I asked him what filling and it was fine.

And its not just about thinking they'll spend it on drink and drugs, in a lot of cases beggars are organised by gangs who take all their money at the end of the day, or who sit with drugged-up trafficked children in their laps looking like they're sleeping. To those people, a sandwich is a bonus, and in the case of the children, arguments like those waged against the op seem pretty petty.

dfrty Sat 06-Jul-13 17:43:23

that is disgusting. Homeless people are human beings. Giving them food is an act of kindness, but dog food? That's vile; they don't deserve to be treated like dogs. Tell your friend she can go to hell.

Souredstones Sat 06-Jul-13 18:28:57

Some homeless don't deserve the title of human though. I was in Italy last year a beggar was sat outside a bar from 9am with a child of about 4 years of age who was asleep. We walked past again at lunchtime and sat in the bar opposite for over an hour, child was still asleep. Went about our business went back into town for dinner at 8pm they had moved to a different part of town but the child was still asleep. Went into town the following day and saw her again, child was in the same position again at 10am.

It wasn't even what I'd say as a child being asleep it was lollopping in its mothers arms not sleeping.

The second day I asked in the bar why the police hadnt moved her on and was met with a shrugged shoulder and an explanation that it is extremely common over there for beggars to drug their children to make them look sick or keep them quiet so they earn more money. They're disposable commodities.

I would have called a person a liar if someone had told me that goes on if I'd not witnessed it.

I'm very wary if beggars and homeless people as a result now.

LRDLearningDomHome Sat 06-Jul-13 18:45:06

You heard a rumour, and now you think you 'witnessed it'? hmm

I know this is a zombie thread but what a ridiculous thing to say.

Souredstones Sat 06-Jul-13 18:47:01

Not exactly a rumour when something that you've seen is explained to you by someone who witnesses it every day. Very unusual for a child to be permanently listless and asleep no?

ChuffMuffin Sat 06-Jul-13 18:54:31

I live in a big city and I don't give money to the "homeless" in the streets, because 9 times out of 10 they aren't homeless at all, just beggars. I'm not saying they're all trying it on, but the majority definitely are. There are a pair that work the local shopping arcade where I work. I see them coming and going to their spots, which they only do on a Friday and Saturday (wonder why? hmm).

Anyway they got moved off by the police last week. They came back about half an hour later nicely dressed, saw the police weren't about, went and got changed, and returned to begging. Unfuckingbelievable.

They also tried to scam me in my shop once for changing coins in to notes, then started yelling at me that I was short changing them when I wasn't. Pair of bastards.

LRDLearningDomHome Sat 06-Jul-13 18:57:01

It's a rumour.

Not unusual for a child to be listless or asleep if they're malnourished, no.

You have no idea whether this rumour is true, and saying it's made you 'wary' of beggars in general just sounds like an excuse to judge people, to me.

You don't want to give stuff, fine, don't.

Essexgirlupnorth Sat 06-Jul-13 19:13:40

No I don't think that was unreasonable. Had a talk at the WI who said that most of the people begging were not actually homeless, one girl made £300 a day and spent most of it on drugs.
Really made me think twice about giving people money.

That's because those are beggars, most homeless people look just like everyone else. One girl does not equate to the entire beggar or homeless population and that doesn't make her or any of them less human.

Zombie thread gets advice page from actual former homeless person.

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