Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Purchasable Food Stamps

Finally, you can give a handout without worry
  (+12, -2)(+12, -2)
(+12, -2)
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Most people don't give handouts to the homeless because they know that the hand-out-ee will simply take the handout directly to the nearest liquor store and drink it.

Food stamps can't be used to buy liquor, but the average person doesn't have food stamps, so there is nothing that the average person can give a homeless person that can be used to buy food but can't be used to buy liquor.

Enter Purchasable Food Stamps! At your local grocery store you buy a book of food stamps at face value. Keep the receipt, because it's tax deductable!

Now when you see homeless persons on the street, you can give them the means to find the next meal without giving them the means to get sloshed!

mwburden, Mar 23 2001

Homeless Cards http://www.halfbake..._20the_20unemployed
Similar Idea [blahginger, Mar 23 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       I've wrestled with this issue, too, and have come to a not-quite-firm conclusion that PeterSealy's approach is the right one. What the beggar does with the money is his/her responsibility. My responsibility is to help someone in need, if I can. Of course, if I can respond to the need in a more responsible way, that's even better, but it doesn't relieve my responsibility to respond.   

       On the other hand, I can't condemn mwburden's approach, either, if a food voucher will enable someone to give more freely.
beauxeault, Mar 23 2001
  

       No, I opt bypass the issue entirely.
centauri, Mar 23 2001
  

       When someone says they need money for coffee. I buy them coffee. If they're outside Taco Bell, I get 'em a couple of tacos. Facial reactions have varied from 'Thanks' to 'Damn, I asked for it, didn't I' to outright hostility...My personal favo(u)rite is the guy who will hold up a sign which reads "Why Lie, I Want Beer". And yes, I also use tunnel vision to skirt the issue the greater percentage of the time, when my instincts indicate that the person is actively addicted.
thumbwax, Mar 23 2001
  

       I'm with thumbwax (I’ve also experienced the same varied responses) and waugsqueke on this one.   

       PeterSealy/beauxealt: I used to think that giving money was the best solution--and that what they did with my money was their business--until I moved into my current residence (2 blocks from skid row in downtown LA) and saw, first-hand, that the majority of the people asking for money were, in fact, shooting up in my alley shortly after the handoff. More important, however, I realized that publicly handing out money is asking for trouble, and that doing so in the same area over time definitely marks you a sucker for a mugging. In short, your comments would ring true if every request for monetary aid was *genuine* and that it was relatively safe to hand out money.   

       I want to help, yet I don’t want to support a habit (and it's naive to think that everybody who asks truly needs it). For, true intentions are often masked in the form of sympathy pitches, and these pitches serve as the foundation for every con that exists. What's more, I don’t have the kind of money one needs in order to give to everyone who asks hoping that some of it will reach those truly in need (and, as I mentioned, the security risks aren't worth it).   

       Consequently, I think food banks and the kind of assistance thumbwax mentioned are the best solutions...and that purchasable food stamps is a good idea.
iuvare, Mar 24 2001
  

       For the record, I don't give to all who ask, either. So I'm afraid I'm a hypocrite on this one. Even so, I'm not willing to tell myself that my justifications are all supportable (nor am I suggesting that yours are not).   

       Once my wife and I couldn't finish one of those jumbo-portion meals in a city away from home, and asked for a doggy bag for the purpose of giving it to one of the homeless people we had passed on the way in. We left out all portions we had touched, but still had a substantial meal left over. We asked for plastic silverware. On the first street corner we were approached by a man who asked us for money for "a bite to eat." We gave him the meal and he opened it immediately and started eating it, and called out to us with a big smile, "Hey, God bless you! This really *was* what I wanted!"   

       I don't suppose that story proves any of my points, but it seems relevant.
beauxeault, Mar 24 2001
  

       Shoot the homeless. Put them out of both of our misery!
LeBain, Jan 09 2002
  

       Now, you know that under the worst conditions most of the desperate you meet will be living, your food stamp will earn them 50¢ on the dollar. Give them the cash and, like LeBain says, get them for all your worth.   

       PS: ¯beauxeault -- I'm speechless! You and your wife are a rare sort.
reensure, Jan 10 2002
  

       They could just trade the stamps/food to other hobos for booze money/actual booze.
Shadow Phoenix, Sep 29 2007
  

       I was just going to post the idea of a 'Hot Meal Token" -- a currency that can be used to purchase hot food and a warm bed for the night. Instead, having found this, let me give it a big [+], or a fishbone with enough meat still on it, whichever turns out to be more useful.
st3f, Nov 11 2007
  
      
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