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Woman begging for food

(17 Posts)
Balloondog Mon 04-Dec-17 20:50:25

Doorbell just rang and I answered the door to find a young woman looking a bit disheveled and crying who asked me if I could give her some food for her and her little boy (he wasn't with her). I've never experienced this before so was a bit taken aback and just went with gut instinct.

I asked her to wait, closed the door and went to the kitchen and filled a bag with a loaf of bread, cuppa soups, a tin of soup and some cans of tuna... a bit random but they were the most filling/easy to prepare foods I had to hand. DH came through to ask who was at the door, I explained and he took the bag of food to the door and gave it to her.

We're both felt like something was a bit 'off' about the whole thing but can't put our finger on it. We've only lived here for a couple of months so no idea if this is a normal occurrence for the area and we're now debating whether we've done the right thing. DH thinks there might be some sort of scam to it but I'm not convinced some bread, soup and tuna is really worth 'scamming' someone. I'm of the opinion that we're fortunate to be able to afford food without worrying too much and I'd rather risk being 'had' on the off chance we've helped prevent someone go hungry. DH thinks even if she was genuine we've now set ourselves up as easy targets and the doorbell will never stop ringing.

What would you have done? What would you do if she comes back again the future?

Tinselistacky Mon 04-Dec-17 20:51:55

Maybe be prepared? Can you download some info on benefits /food banks etc and direct her to some long term helpers!?

RestingGrinchFace Mon 04-Dec-17 20:53:05

I'm of the mentality that you give a man a fish you feed him for a day but you teach him to fish and you feed him for life. That is to say that I would have probably tried to encourage her to seek some kind of help/at least asked her exactly what the matter was.

Ragwort Mon 04-Dec-17 20:57:33

I think my reaction would be like your's, to give some food immediately. It's not as if you were prepared in advance and could give out information about what help (if any sad) there is in your area. It would be different if someone was asking for money, but imagine how desperate she must have been to knock on a stranger's door and ask for a few tins of food/loaf of bread.

Clearly, if she (or anyone else) returns you might then feel you have been 'set up' so perhaps now find out what help you could refer anyone to.

Akire Mon 04-Dec-17 20:59:05

I would have done the same if looked upset. Ok so small chances she’s asking lots of people but what you going do with beans bread and pasta? Or she could be really hard up and just doing it because really stuck. If she was looking cash that’s different but tin food no
Odds to me.

SmellySphinx Mon 04-Dec-17 21:00:43

My elderly neighbour had exactly the same experience last year but she let the woman in...(foolishly by her own admission) She also gave the woman some food from her freezer and I think a few pounds. The woman nicked her purse! She was feeling rather daft for letting her in but also because she has such a good heart and the woman was so convincing, she helped her out.

She knocked on all neigbours doors to let us know this had happened.

egginacup Mon 04-Dec-17 21:02:43

I would have done the same. You never know, it may have been a scam, she may have been hoping that you would offer money, I guess you’ll only know if she comes back. But you can only go with your gut instinct.

SmellySphinx Mon 04-Dec-17 21:03:30

The woman never came back or knocked on anyone elses door that I know of. Neighbour is very sound of mind and isn't usually one to be caught out

Fuckit2017 Mon 04-Dec-17 21:04:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SmellySphinx Mon 04-Dec-17 21:05:41

If I were you I'd email local MP and maybe even let the local PCSO/police know about this to be honest.

Passthecake30 Mon 04-Dec-17 21:07:06

I would've probably done what you did tbh, as if it was the truth I'd hate someone to be going hungry when I have 12 tins of beans in the cupboard.

PeaceLoveAndDixie Mon 04-Dec-17 21:12:04

Possibly hoping you’d go off leaving the door open to steal something? But I think I’d have done the same as you, shut the door and get some food, what’s the worst that could happen?

Balloondog Mon 04-Dec-17 21:30:37

Thanks all, good to know most would have done the same. The tips on having some helpful info to hand if she calls again are a great idea... I'll look into it this week.

Bluntness100 Mon 04-Dec-17 21:37:24

I’d also have done the same op. In fact on a long weekend in Berlin this year a young Romanian woman asked me for money and I gave her it, the guys with us were like “WTAF blunt, you know she’s just being sent out there’s a dude round the corner, why do you give her money??”. But I couldn’t say no and I’d rather be had for Ten euros, than turn her away. The gratitude she showed was real, there was no doubt about that.

But I couldn’t say no, because whatever way I cut it, this woman’s life was hell.

plimsolls Tue 05-Dec-17 14:00:18

I’d have thought, if it was a “scam”, it would be the woman stealing a few valuable items when/if someone let her in or left the door open. If you shut the door and only give the food you can afford to give then no harm done either way, I guess.

Balloondog Tue 05-Dec-17 22:37:53

Totally agree, not sure what the 'scam' could be as no one was at the back of the house while I was at the front and we didn't let her in. As someone said, I'd rather give what I can in case it's real... I think you've got to be pretty desperate to be door knocking and I'd hate to think she and her child were going hungry when I have a full pantry.

LyraPotter Mon 15-Jan-18 09:09:20

I think you were very generous and did the right thing. If it was a scam at least you only lost a bag of food, and if it was genuine you obviously helped a woman in terrible need.

If she comes back I would try inviting her in (though she may refuse) and finding out more about her situation and what help she needs. She may be entitled to benefits or council assistance which she isn't using. She would also probably benefit from knowing where her nearest food bank is and how to use it.

You're a good soul OP x

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