Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Care Card for Christmas

Cash Card for Urban Outdoorsman aka Bums and Homeless
  (+3, -4)
(+3, -4)
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Problem: Have you ever been accosted by an urban outdoorsman (bum) on the street asking for money to buy food, gas, or an artificial limb? I have and I know darn well that he is going to blow the money I gave him for some cheap wine or crack rock. I end up thinking, am I really helping this junkie?

Solution: The Care card may be purchased by those who work and be given to those who do not to be used solely for the purchase of food and/or clothing. All other purchases (for example: alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, clean needles, glue, fancy ribbons, frisbees, pet hamsters, etc.) are locked out. Additionally, there is a disclaimer right on the card that says, "This card may not be used for anything but clothing or food." They are sold in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 pound/dollar amounts.

Thus, you actually help the bum instead of buying him a bottle of booze.

One issue that might occur is that bums sell cards for cash in order to support their bad habits. I have a solution for that as well. After giving the card to a bum, one only has to call a toll-free number and voice enter a description of the bum. See sample phone call below:

Computer: Enter card number now. Person: 8675309 Computer: Enter description of loser. Person: White Male, 40s, with Gold rimmed front left tooth and a tatoo of a bearded chicken on right shoulder with name Oleander underneath. Has dried bird crap in his hair and is wearing a "Free the Juice" t-shirt that smells of urine. No pants. Computer: Thank you for giving.

In this way, if the card is presented by a suspicious person the merchant can go online or phone to see if bearer of the card is in fact the original vagrant who received it.

This program does not involve the government and thus will encourage more heartfelt giving and more thankful receiving.

Monty6, Nov 20 2007

Homeless Voucher Program http://chigbee23.bl.../how-do-i-help.html
"Those wishing to help the homeless can purchase vouchers rather than handing over their cash. These vouchers are good for food and shelter, along with a bus ticket to one of the downtown homeless shelters." [Klaatu, Nov 20 2007]

Purchasable Food Stamps Purchasable_20Food_20Stamps
Already halfbaked. [phoenix, Nov 20 2007]

business cards for the unemployed business_20cards_20for_20the_20unemployed
Already halfbaked. [phoenix, Nov 20 2007]

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       Like the Homeless Voucher Program? <link>
Klaatu, Nov 20 2007

       NO, its not a government program. People have to choose to purchase and then choose to give. A "voucher program" has the government take money from one working person--producer (who is not cheery about it) and gives it to another--parasite (who is not thankful--but feels entitled.)
Monty6, Nov 20 2007

       Rats, I just went to the website you listed. Yeah, its pretty much like that...I stand corrected.
Monty6, Nov 20 2007

       Comments from anyone else who hadn't heard my idea was already invented.
Monty6, Nov 20 2007

       Soup kitchen? Centralise the service and cut out the cards?
vincevincevince, Nov 20 2007

       Or simply hand over a big Mac.
simonj, Nov 20 2007

       //big Mac// - in case of heavy rain and a large person?
vincevincevince, Nov 20 2007

       One major problem is that people will always bypass the system. Shopkeepers and fellow shoppers in particular.   

       'Scuse me ma'am, I need to buy Baby Food which isn't allowed for these vouchers... as you're buying food, could you help cash it for me?
vincevincevince, Nov 21 2007

       Where I come from (México) this hasn't been invented and it would be really helpful.   

       I don't think these people really WANT to be alcoholics, but I don't think either that they're doomed to that sort of behaviour. Instead, I like to think that each one of us has a choice between being the person we are and being something else. We're never a victim of the circumstances. It's all a matter of how much we are willing to leave our "comfort zone" and start making an effort. I don't know where you come from, [Murdoch], but in third world countries like mine it really is common to have little choice besides being a bum and beg for food. I wonder if it's the same in countries like the US, Europe and the UK where the government REALLY gives them a choice to leave the streets, get food, shelter and even join a program to quit their bad habits. Bun for Monty!
Pericles, Nov 21 2007

       Having purchased designer clothing, the bum progresses to a pawn shop or market trader, exchanges the new goods for cash and then buys drugs.
vincevincevince, Nov 21 2007

       It sounds good in theory, but sadly, some people will just sell these for a cheaper price for cash, and then go buy what they will.
We used to get $25 gift certificates at work and one guy would sell his for $20 and take the cash somewhere else.
xandram, Nov 21 2007

       I'm living on the street, the best thing you can do for me, personally, is buy me a bottle of booze.
Noexit, Nov 23 2007


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