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Old 01-11-2007, 10:05 PM   #1
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Helping the Homeless (Long and not sure if it's OT since food is involved)

First please note, it is not my intention to start a controversy or a firestorm with this topic. I'm simply relating a couple of experiences.

Last year when I was at the gas station I was approached by a homeless man who was trying to cadge quarters. (1) I rarely carry cash. (2) Since there was a liquor store next door, if I'd had cash I wouldn't have given him any. But what I did do was tell him I have no cash but if you want I'll buy you a sandwich. [Note: And I knew the fast food places take credit & debit cards these days. And I observed he was not (yet) drunk.]

Ladies and gentlemen, when I offered him food his eyes lit up like a kid who had just gotten a shiny new toy! He said, "You'd buy me a sandwich?" Sure! (I didn't tell him this I've run into panhandlers who refuse any other sort of help, virtually spitting, not literally! Harsh rude words to to people who won't give them cash.)

There was a Burger King (hereinafter known as BK) next door and a Wendy's across the street. I asked which he would like. He'd seen the sign at BK for a bacon/cheddar burger, asked timidly, "Could I have one of those?" Yes; would you like some french fries? Onion rings if they have them? "Oh no, ma'am, the sandwich will be just fine." I asked what he would like to drink. "Oh, water, ma'am. It won't cost you anything." Imagine a man living in a box beside a strip mall worrying about my money!

Anyway, tonight, I was back at that same gas station. And Steve was outside, petting a Daschundt that a woman had walked up. I recognized him. Unfortunately, this time he was drunk. (Last time he was sober.) I asked if he remembered the lady who took him for a burger last year. Oh, yes! (I'm not convinced, he'd been hitting the whisky - Scottish spelling, same results). But I said the same thing I said last year. I won't give you money for booze but I'll buy you a sandwich.

He perked up. Said, "I remember you! Are you going to buy me a sandwich?" Yes sir, I am. Last year it was a BK. He said, "Is the Subway across the street still open? I'd like a Subway. I'm trying to eat healthier." Okay, for a man living on the street, drunk on whisky most of the time that was But I can sort of appreciate it, too. Anyway, we went across the street to Subway.

He didn't go inside the BK last year when I ordered his food. He did walk into the Subway with me, for this was his strip mall. The merchants and employees knew him there.

He announced to the employees I was his guardian angel. The people behind the counter laughed and prodded him to figure out what he wanted to order. This time I asked if he wanted chips with his sandwich and he said he'd like some BBQ chips.

He was obviously drunk but I got some food in his stomach before someone gave him enough spare change; maybe it helped.

I left him sitting inside the restaurant with his sandwich, a bag of chips and a cup of Dr. Pepper. It's cold outside in west Tennessee tonight and they'll let him stay inside the restaurant as long as he can 'nurse' that foot-long sub and some chips or until Subway shuts down for the night.

Fraidy

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Old 01-11-2007, 10:19 PM   #2
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Good karma to you, FraidKnot.
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:24 PM   #3
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Thanks FraidNot, your story definately helps me to appreciate what I have in life.
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:47 PM   #4
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fraidy, i've gotten food to homeless people. only a select few. i screen them out.
won't give near my neighborhood here, although near my school that's different- my neighborhood is rich & those guys that aren't any semblance of poor tend to lurk cause they're aware of that- they're well-groomed, tuck thier many items beside them like you can't see thier expensive belongings- if they get to be too annoying, i dial authorities.
yet several guys central city (far from here) look very weathered. old, alcoholic, filthy, tired & sunken. if they beg, usually i'm like, 'uh-uh' & leave that at that.
couple of them, though, get a burger or a few $$ if they're obviously hungry.
although i probably shouldn't- they can get gourmet meals via food pantry- meals prepared by us Chef students get donated to that.
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:07 PM   #5
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Fraidy, you've done what many of us wish we had.

Maybe next time, you'll "deliver" a homemade sandwich to Steve.
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvs
fraidy, i've gotten food to homeless people. only a select few. i screen them out.
won't give near my neighborhood here, although near my school that's different- my neighborhood is rich & those guys that aren't any semblance of poor tend to lurk cause they're aware of that- they're well-groomed, tuck thier many items beside them like you can't see thier expensive belongings- if they get to be too annoying, i dial authorities.
yet several guys central city (far from here) look very weathered. old, alcoholic, filthy, tired & sunken. if they beg, usually i'm like, 'uh-uh' & leave that at that.
couple of them, though, get a burger or a few $$ if they're obviously hungry.
although i probably shouldn't- they can get gourmet meals via food pantry- meals prepared by us Chef students get donated to that.
It's hard to tell who is hungry and who is not. Many years ago, a neighborhood family bought a red sports car. The family consisted of a husbnd, wife and three kids. A few weeks later, I noticed the parents outside at midnight looking through the garbage for food. I bagged up two sacks with captain crunch cereal, lil debbies, hot pockets, milk, chips, candy bars, sausage biscuits, etc. The next night, I set it beside the garbage dumpster about 11:00 and prayed that they would find it. Within a few days the red sports car was gone and they were back to paying their bills and eating. About 8 years later, I stopped at a convenience store and a young man in a service truck jumped out and ran to open the store door for me. He said that he had been watching out the window when I dropped off the groceries. He giggled and said he ate gummy worms all night. Then they decided the car was not worth it.

I noticed a well dressed senior citizen couple in their 80's walk down the street about the same time each month. I kinda thought they were looking for change along the curb side for some reason. The next month, I put a $20 around a rock and left it at the curb side on the day that I usually saw them. Sure enough they found it. There was a donut shop on the block and they went inside. They were so excited about the money that when they ordered, they told the lady all about it. When she found out that they were not able to buy food and pay their bills all month, she called some agencies. (she too had noticed them walking along the street). They never had to go without again.

People in all walks of life need a helping hand now and then.
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvs
fraidy, i've gotten food to homeless people. only a select few. i screen them out.
won't give near my neighborhood here, although near my school that's different- my neighborhood is rich & those guys that aren't any semblance of poor tend to lurk cause they're aware of that- they're well-groomed, tuck thier many items beside them like you can't see thier expensive belongings- if they get to be too annoying, i dial authorities.
We've all heard about folks who have nice homes and nice cars who go out and beg and pretend they are homeless. These crooks go home with mega $$$ and I also am on the lookout. No one gets cash from me.

I can't offer anyone work because I live in an apartment where everything - from yard work down to changing my smoke alarm batteries for me - is taken care of... not that I tell strangers where I live! But this guy I've seen twice now and trust me, he's not an actor. He's really down on his luck.

Quote:
yet several guys central city (far from here) look very weathered. old, alcoholic, filthy, tired & sunken. if they beg, usually i'm like, 'uh-uh' & leave that at that.
couple of them, though, get a burger or a few $$ if they're obviously hungry.
although i probably shouldn't- they can get gourmet meals via food pantry- meals prepared by us Chef students get donated to that.
Nothing wrong with directing someone to a food pantry or a soup kitchen... gourmet meals? Must be a pretty unique place!

Fraidy
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:49 AM   #8
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Thank you for helping Steve. Some of the homeless people get abandoned by their families over time and some of them out live their families.
You didn't mention Steve's age. Did you ever learn what his circumstances were about?
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:18 AM   #9
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fraidy, yeah, we cook quite a volume of food at school, so rather than get rid of that, we send our extra food to our local food pantry.

stirblue, it's easy to me to spot hungry people- i see them daily & thier appearance speaks volumes.

& if someone is silly enough to buy stuff they obviously cannot afford due to thier lack of $$, that's thier own naive frivilousness. have to wring me dry to get me to offer them pity. people ought be aware of thier finances & not purchase these items when they cannot nourish themselves & thier babies.
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StirBlue
Thank you for helping Steve. Some of the homeless people get abandoned by their families over time and some of them out live their families.
You didn't mention Steve's age. Did you ever learn what his circumstances were about?
This is a difficult subject for me. Steve says he's 64 or 65 years old. Depends on whether you talk to him sober or talk to him as he was tonight. Doesn't really matter, he says he's a VietNam Veteran. At that age he certainly could have been a young vet.

Having said that, my father is a Veteran of WWII (age 17), Korea in the 1950's (and was in Okinawa, Japan when I was born). He did two tours in VietNam. He's 82 years old and a retired Colonel, U.S.M.C.

Can't use the "VietNam Vet" thing as an excuse in my book. I've seen too many people drafted who came back and went on and people who volunteered who went, came back and went on. But I don't discount the ones who should not have been sent in the first place. The U.S. military isn't the best place for screening out "problem children".

Fraidy
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