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

(385 Posts)
TheSeventhHorcrux Fri 01-Feb-13 20:33:36

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!


Murtette Sat 06-Jul-13 20:26:37

dfrty (who re-ignited the zombie thread) - I read the dog food thing as meaning that the friend gave the homeless person tins of dog food for his dog. I know the dog wasn't mentioned but I think that that is what was meant.

looseleaf Sat 06-Jul-13 20:37:42

Glad OP feels better about her food choice being well received. Nice to make even a small difference to anyone who might need it more.
I once had a friend's puppy for a week and it made it much easier to talk to a man begging on the street as broke the ice. after chatting for a while I asked his name and said I hoped we'd meet again. He said noone ever asked or remembered his name and how hard he found that which really taught me a lesson and whether anyone offers food or money it sobers me that it could just as well be me sitting there and longing for dignity and thought

Pitmountainpony Sat 06-Jul-13 22:18:54

I worked fundraising on the steets of London. Ten years ago...two hundred quid a day was about right back then.....of course you do have to be begging all day to make that......which takes some effort. More Than one beggar revealed this to was offered a job but chugging did not pay as well as begging.......he found it very amusing that he made more than we did and of course we all know how well those chiggers get paid.

SugarMouse1 Sat 06-Jul-13 22:40:29

Well, if he accepted and was happy with it then that's fine, no harm done is there?
But, I guess he could have been vegan/veggie/Muslim/Jewish/coeliac so maybe you can inadvertently insult someone or make them ill if you buy food for them, ISWIM?
There already are soup kitchens etc for the homeless to get food. As to them spending it on drink/drugs, well tbh I don't really blame them if they are living such a harsh, lonely life on the streets.
It could probably drive the best of us into an addiction.
I don't agree with buying the big issue though, because most people selling it aren't homeless (as in rough sleepers) most live in hostels/squats/sofa surf- I 'm sorry but whats so bad about that???

WafflyVersatile Sat 06-Jul-13 22:46:51

It's entirely optional whether you give them anything or not. So you are not unreasonable.

But, so what if they spend the money on drink and drugs? I'd want drink if I was homeless. Once you hand over money it's their money to spend as they see fit. Just because they are homeless doesn't mean they should not be allowed some agency in their lives.

SugarMouse1 Sat 06-Jul-13 22:49:01

Never, ever give to those Roma beggar children.

Its just encouraging their parents to exploit them.

I guess food is okay though, although the adults might just take that as well!

Futterby Sat 06-Jul-13 22:58:02

I used to give homeless people gifts. Once, I had been chatting to a homeless man selling the Big Issue and asked him how he was. He said to me "I'm happy hen, as long as it's not raining." That really got to me, so I went and bought him a jacket. A lovely waterproof one with a hood. I was 16 at the time, with very little income but I've always been one to give what I can so I spent my last money buying him this jacket.

So I went and gave it to him the next day and he just looked at me and went "thanks". I was a bit hmm for thinking he would be a bit happier about it, but I just said "you're welcome" and went on my way. As I was walking away, I turned around to watch him stuff the brand new jacket in the nearest bin.

I was too humiliated to mention it to him. The next day, on my way past again, I watched light up a fag and take a call on his iPhone.

Three days ago, there was a man sitting in Glasgow Center with no shoes or socks. I'm very wary, now, of giving homeless people anything (which is a wee shame but I can't help it) but I went in to a Sports Direct and bought him a pack of five thick socks to keep him warm. Went over to him and handed them over, and he snatched them out my hand and shoved them up his jumper and then acted like nothing had happened.

I'm 18 years old and a full time student, with myself and my partner living on his part time wage. We also have a baby on the way. I spent the money I was going to spend on our dinner on those socks that he didn't even want, so I didn't eat that night.

YANBU. I just wanted to rant a little.

Futterby Sat 06-Jul-13 22:59:37

*I watched him light up a fag

WafflyVersatile Sat 06-Jul-13 23:02:07

I can understand your frustration, Futterby!

Goes to show it's best to ask them what they'd like though.

foreverondiet Sat 06-Jul-13 23:02:33

I once asked a man begging what sandwich he'd like to eat from the tesco he was sitting outside. He said nothing as he was a strict gluten free vegan! I then asked if he wanted fruit or salad but he said he needed the money for a bone for his dog. I didn't buy him anything and it reinforced my view that many begging for money for drugs - yanbu I agree with what you did....

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