Fourth of Six

Listen Up! There will be a test!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Gift bags for the homeless

The Homeless Guy has some suggestions for how you can help the homeless if you don't have much cash, or if you're uncomfortable with giving money to strangers. Make a bunch of gift bags to hand out to the homeless when you see them, containing such universal necessities as "travel size" tooth paste and tooth brush and deodorant. A pair of new or clean socks (it's hard to keep feet healthy on the street) nail clippers, a comb, a bar of soap, gloves when it's cold out, a disposable razor, etc." He suggests you add something special, too like candles, or a personal note. I think bottled water or drinks, gum or candy, or gift certificates for fast food would be nice.

He says "Now it does happen sometimes, when you do this, that a street person will then ask you for something you don't have, or you are uncomfortable with giving. Just tell them that the packages are all you have right now, and that you're sorry you can't help more. Sometimes they will try to make you feel guilty so they can get more out of you. Be polite but firm. If you set, and hold to your limits, they will respect you for it."


At 3:28 PM, Blogger Bobmo said...

I really like that idea! It's often very difficult to decide whether or not to give cash money and it's not always easy to distinguish between genuine need and panhandling. At our church, we frequently get requests from people asking for grocery or rent money and we've found a good way to help is by providing them with gift certificates to a local grocery store. This prevents (most) misuse of the money, and is relatively risk-free while being genuinely helpful.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Becky said...

I have a needy friend who gets gift cards for gas or food from well-intentioned friends, only to turn around and sell them, sometimes for half their value, because she'd rather have the cash to spend as she likes. That's the downside of giving gift certificates for groceries. Especially since grocery stores sell alcohol, too, you can't be sure they're using it for healthy stuff only.


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