r/AskReddit Dec 08 '21 Helpful 73 Wholesome 43 Helpful (Pro) 1 Silver 40

What's something you shouldn't give to a homeless person?

40.6k Upvotes

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u/AstralTriip Dec 08 '21 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy

We used to check in on this homeless man occasionally to make sure he was doing okay. One year we were chatting and he says "hey, i have to give you something". I was excited, thinking maybe he's super artsy and made us something cool to remember him by.

He opens his trench coat and reveals a giant frozen uncooked slab of pork. "Someone gave me this fucking slab of meat. What the fuck does he think I'm going to do with this? I'm sick of carrying this around"

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u/[deleted] Dec 09 '21 Silver

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u/Divine_Dosu Dec 08 '21

Canned food without pop tops or a can opener to go with it

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u/Stupidnames04 Dec 08 '21 Silver

Whatever they don’t want. I was gonna buy a homeless dude a nice back pack once but he didn’t want it because chances he will get robbed for it or stolen.

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u/Vinyalonde Dec 08 '21

Same. I bought one regular in my neighbourhood a sleeping mat, sleeping bag, and a tarp. He sold them but he explained that if he hadn’t he would have likely been robbed. They are often targeted.

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u/Repulsive-Alps4924 Dec 08 '21 Platinum

Don't just drop off food in to go containers near someone's tent. If you're bringing food, talk to them give it to them. Stacking up perishable food they can't manage or really throw away is only bringing mice to their living situation

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u/TheJesseClark Dec 09 '21 Helpful

Really glad I read this comment because I’ve done exactly this more than once. Lesson learned, thank you.

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u/Zer0Doxy Dec 08 '21

This should be the top answer.

So many people want to be kind and don't know how, and if you're the homeless person receiving "aid" it's a bad look to "umm actually" someone who's just trying to be helpful. More often than not, folks will appreciate the food and be able to find a good home for it even if they don't need it themselves. The problem comes from leaving stuff by where they sleep. Sometimes there are reasons you can't go back to camp for a couple of days, so the stray pests learn that food happens here sometimes and also there's soft, warm cozies around. Imagine coming home and finding rats partying in a cornucopia of spoiled groceries in your living room. No good at all.

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u/annies_bdrm_skillet Dec 09 '21

I had no idea what the etiquette is, but the only time I approached someone’s tent, it was bc I had noticed them outside it earlier in the day and was specifically thinking of them when I had some fries boxed up to-go. So I just said “excuse me I have some food for you if you’d like,” and a head and a hand appeared and there was a “thank you” and that was that lol I was afraid to bother them but also like... they were good fries and still warm

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u/Diredoe Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome

Related story time: I used to work at a thrift store in processing. Basically, I sorted donations, cleaned them up if needed, priced them, and put them out onto the floor.

One day I got in a donation a bunch of those kits you see people put together for homeless people; they have things like a stick of deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, that sort of thing. I was going through them for things we weren't allowed to put onto the floor (like medication - they had packets of Tylenol in them) when I found a folded $50 bill in there. I unfolded it, and it was one of those Christian pamphlet things; you know the ones, that say, "Money isn't the cure for everything, only Jesus will get you into heaven" or whatever.

So basically, don't get someone who's desperate for money fake money that says they shouldn't worry about money.

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u/Awetumn Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy

Would be funny if people started putting those fake bill/Christian pamphlets into the collection plate.

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u/EatSleepJeep Dec 09 '21

I know a server that mailed the ones she collected to a local church. With any luck they were as crestfallen as she was when they realized what they really were.

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u/notthesedays Dec 09 '21

If it was the church that distributed them, that would be too funny.

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u/bigpeachpie Dec 09 '21

This is one of the greatest ideas I've heard here

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u/No_Sherbet5183 Dec 08 '21

Yes that is cruel

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u/SomewhatThoughtfulB Dec 08 '21

Cruel doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Like, fine, give your server a fake $20 Christian bill, and you’re trash…but, whatever at least you know that person has a job 🙄

Giving that as a gift to a known homeless person…wtf. Wt-actual-f.

That’s not just cruel. Its predatory.

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u/vampyrekat Dec 09 '21

And, I would guess, unlikely to convert them. Now they just know your church/religion as “the dicks who give fake money to homeless people”. What a glowing recommendation.

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u/ddh85 Dec 09 '21 edited Dec 09 '21

The ironic part is that by doing stunts like sending out fake bills, those churches are actively ignoring one of the fundamental teachings of Jesus: TAKE CARE OF THE POOR AND MARGINALIZED!

EDIT: I thought a different commenter caught something I didn't. I guess not.

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u/SpecialChain Dec 09 '21

If irony could power electrical appliances that's like enough irony for an entire month of household electricity.

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u/GrandTheftNatto Dec 08 '21

I used to have a coworker brag about giving those fake money pamphlets to waiters/waitresses as a tip. Legit would say “I always give the best tip” then show ppl the fake money. He could never figure out why everyone hated him.

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u/Now_with_real_ginger Dec 09 '21

Did this guy not know he was being a colossal douche, or did he just not care?

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u/ffj_ Dec 08 '21 edited 13d ago Helpful Wholesome

Canned food without pull-open tabs, anything that is perishable, homemade food (unless you know them). Judgement. People can be homeless for a variety of reasons. Not every homeless person is a bad person. And no one deserves to be homeless, whether how they got there or what they're doing while they're there is wrong to you.

Good things:

Baby wipes

Water bottles (reusable too)

Socks

Hand warmers

Hygiene products for periods

Best thing:

Ask them. Each person is different, has access to different resources. The best way to know someone's needs is to ask them yourself.

ETA: I say not homemade food because people have sometimes added things in the food to make it inedible, from the toothpaste "prankster" to glass. Things can still be added to sealed food sure, but definitely less likely and more noticeable, in my opinion.

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u/jfarrar19 Dec 09 '21

Canned food without pull-open tabs

Because of how common that is, I'd feel that "can opener" might be a useful thing if you have one to give.

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u/ffj_ Dec 09 '21

Speaking as someone who used to be homeless, my stuff got stolen or lost when moving locations plenty of times, so I would personally prefer not to have one. But others may.

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u/polonnaise Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome Tearing Up

A frozen turkey.

(Had a friend who used to send plated meals to the homeless people near her house, occasionally. One day one of them came to her door with a frozen turkey. Someone had driven to the homeless area and handed this woman a frozen turkey. When the woman delivered it she said, "I figured you have an oven, maybe you can use it. What did they think I was going to do with it??? I've got a shopping cart, not an oven.")

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u/godofcheese Dec 08 '21 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy Helpful (Pro)

As a kid, who was poor but fortunately not homeless, we used to get a bunch of donated turkeys every Thanksgiving. Freezer would be wall to wall turkeys and we would be eating turkey for dinner for what seemed like months. Thank God we are least had a freezer or no doubt much of it would have been wasted.

People always donate turkeys on Thanksgiving, but ignore the rest of the year I guess. But eating turkey for a couple of months is a lot better than eating nothing.

I am thankful for anyone who donated something I ate as a kid, as I don't know where I would be now otherwise... Dead I guess.

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u/wibblywobbly420 Dec 08 '21 Wholesome

Our grocury store used to donate turkeys every year for our christmas drive (about 200 families) but they would run into the issue of people not being able to store or cook them, or just not practical to give a turkey to a family of 1-3 people, so now they give $25 store specific, hand written gift cards for people to get whatever they need

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u/learnedsanity Dec 08 '21 Silver

As a poor kid, a turkey to my family of 3 didn't survive long. It's nice to give people options but we never would have looked at a free turkey with side eyes.

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u/klem_kadiddlehopper Dec 08 '21

I hate turkey and used to get a coupon for a free turkey where I worked. Luckily the store would let me get a chicken instead. I would buy a hen about the same size as the coupon stated.

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u/godofcheese Dec 08 '21

It's funny, when my dad worked and we were just kinda poor we would always eat chicken on Thanksgiving because we couldn't afford a turkey and the chicken was cheaper. It was only after we became dirt poor and relying more on food banks did we start having turkey

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u/klem_kadiddlehopper Dec 08 '21

I don't think anything is cheaper now. I'm always shocked when I look at the prices of meat these days.

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u/senditbuhh Dec 08 '21

My grandma once watched a homeless woman's bag of stuff break and the woman started crying. My grandma had one of those sturdy reusable grocery bags, she asked the women if she'd like the bag. Grandma gave her the bag and the women acted like she'd been given a million bucks. Sometimes it's the things we'd never expect that mean the world to the homeless.

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u/HollywoodHoedown Dec 09 '21 Silver Wholesome

I have a similar story. I was coming home from work, and a local homeless guy was begging at the train station I got off at. It was winter, and he was in a tee and shorts, one hand holding out his change cup, the other he was just bawling into. I myself was broke as hell (had a roof over my head and a job, but was just getting by). I also knew this bloke happened to be deaf and mute as I’d read his sign a few times before.

I jogged home, went up to the attic where I knew I had a brand new sleeping bag I didn’t need (can’t remember why), went back to the station and kinda knelt in front of him to get his attention. I don’t speak sign language, just awkwardly held the sleeping bag out in front of me and gestured for him to take it. Dude looked at me, down at the bag, back at me, and just wrapped me in a massive bear hug. Cost me nothing, but meant so much to him.

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u/Tempshrugs Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 10 '21 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome

Food that needs to be cooked

Edit: give the awards to the homeless instead of me!

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u/Puzzleheaded_Leggo Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful

Also, food that requires a hard bite - many are in need of dental care.

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u/ariariariariariari Dec 08 '21

this! i offered a man a nature valley granola bar once, cause that was all i had, but he turned me down because he couldn't eat it. :(

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u/kd3906 Dec 08 '21

Offered an apple once. He grinned and handed it back to me. He had only 3 teeth.

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u/schnozzberrypie Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome Hugz

This apple scenario also happened to me, so after I would buy a bunch of bananas and give them out along my walk home through east Vancouver. I'd also leave them like little smiles on parking meters, because potassium is sure to spark joy.

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u/HI_Handbasket Dec 08 '21

We were in Atlanta on a long layover at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. A homeless guy came up and said he hadn't eaten in so long, his colostomy bag was empty... he lifted up his shirt and showed us. We weren't carrying cash, but my wife had a couple of bananas in her purse, which he was quite thankful for.

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u/Emu1981 Dec 08 '21

my wife had a couple of bananas in her purse

Out of all the fruit I would carry in my purse (if I had one), bananas would be the last one I would pick. I see how they end up in my kids' lunch bags after a day of school and they are much more protected compared to a purse lol

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u/pileofanxiety Dec 08 '21

My grandma used to have a friend that always teased her because she could never find anything in her big purse. One day, as a sort of prank-experiment I guess, he put a banana in her purse to see how long it would take for her to notice it was there. She dug through her purse everyday but somehow never noticed it, until one day he asked her about it. She dumped the purse with him there and the banana was shriveled and black, basically a banana mummy. How it didn’t smush and get all over everything in her purse, I’ll never know.

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u/Laserdollarz Dec 09 '21 Gold

Every year for the last, idk, decade, the temperature drops, I grab my winter coat, and find a desiccated husk of a clementine in the pocket. I manage to do this consistently and accidentally.

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u/c0lin46and2 Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful Heartwarming

SMH, you could have baby-birded it to him

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u/EcoAffinity Dec 08 '21

In the same vein, donate can openers to food banks if you can. And spices.

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u/[deleted] Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 10 '21

[deleted]

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u/azurdee Dec 09 '21

My nonprofit can get $1 can openers verses you paying $8-10. We filled 200 duffel bags for kids this last weekend. Each duffel contained $40 worth of items, we got everything for $25. We ask for a $30 donation per duffel. Kid gets more than the donated funds, we get the overage for our next program, and the donor gets a nice thank you card plus tax write off. If the donor were to buy the items, they’d be spending at least $50-60.

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u/min_mus Dec 08 '21 Silver

Donate cash to food banks if you can. They can buy food at wholesale prices which means more food to donate to the community.

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u/ImHighlyExalted Dec 08 '21

They can also spend it on what they need. If a local bakery just donated a bunch of bread they need to get rid of, it wouldn't really be beneficial to donate bread, for example. But the money may buy someone milk instead

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u/Gorechi Dec 08 '21

Some near me are not taking food donations. Only taking money. I don't know if it's because of this or covid safety. But wanted to point it out before anyone goes to buy food expecting to donate it.

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u/dominustui56 Dec 08 '21

My dad runs a food bank. Some are cutting off food donations simply because quite a few people unload expired/opened food they do not want

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u/Ginny_Bean Dec 08 '21

It's referred to as SWEDOW in relief organizations. Shit we don't want. When the tsunami hit Haiti, they couldn't get ships with food and water into their ports because they had ships full of used clothing there that no one would take. It got dumped on their beaches and stayed there for years. Things like old tattered blankets and used tea bags were sent. Someone has to ship, unload, sort, catalog, and dispose of or distribute that crap. Give money instead. Relief workers can buy things wholesale from local vendors for a fragment of the price. People get things they can actually use and it helps rebuild the local economy.

Edit: typo.

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u/Afuzzyredpillow Dec 08 '21

As someone who grew up using foodbanks, I would have given anything for some spices and seasoning

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u/GavinBelsonsAlexa Dec 08 '21

Honestly, food in general can be a problem. Not a lot of people have ways to store/carry/keep anything, and if too many people are giving food, they aren't going to be hungry enough to eat it.

Yes, if you give cash, someone might spend it in ways you don't approve of. But if you give food when a person isn't hungry and can't store it, you're not actually helping anyway.

Source: Was homeless. The only things I wanted were cash and socks.

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u/janeursulageorge Dec 08 '21

Socks. This is the thing.

The things we get asked for the most are socks and undies

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u/goatsandwich43 Dec 08 '21 Gold Helpful Wholesome Heartwarming

Ask them what they want. We had a homeless man, who walked around in a garbage bag, explain people kept giving him clothes and three times he had been attacked for them.

If you’re not sure what they need, ask.

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u/SorryHadToPoop Dec 08 '21 Heartwarming

Instead of cash, I asked a man what he wanted from the gas station and he asked for laundry detergent. We always think about food and shelter, which are fundamental. But hygiene is such a larger category of luxury that we take for granted.

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u/raging_coke_addict Dec 08 '21

Laundry detergent actually sells for a decent price outside of stores. Liquid and pod laundry detergents are some of the most stolen products and typically end up being sold through the black market.

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u/thatAnthrax Dec 08 '21

mind explaining why?

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u/oliver-hart Dec 08 '21

because it’s expensive and everyone uses it. If you steal a $20 jug of detergent probably won’t have any trouble getting $10 for it

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u/TheDudeMaintains Dec 09 '21

I would buy a jug of Persil from a stranger in a Wal-Mart parking lot for 50 cents on the dollar, no questions asked.

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u/2SP00KY4ME Dec 08 '21

Laundry detergent is essentially black market cash. It's available everywhere, can be poured out in specific amounts, and has real use. It also has no serial number so it's impossible to track.

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u/baddie_PRO Dec 09 '21 Silver Helpful Bravo Grande! Vibing

so one could call it money laundering?

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u/LILMOUSEXX Dec 08 '21 Gold

Its just something everyone needs but most don't want to pay high prices for. Its untraceable and security/police don't care for a $20 product. So thieves steal them, sell them, and do what they want with the money.

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u/TweekTweaker_ Dec 08 '21 Helpful

Tbh this is gonna sound weird, but homemade food. It’s better to give already packaged, ready made food so that there isn’t any doubt that the food has been tampered with.

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u/Fairwhetherfriend Dec 08 '21

Especially the ladies. My female cousin lives on the street on-and-off and has for years. I don't even want to talk about how many times someone tried to drug her with food that was either homemade or in a takeout container before she just stopped taking food from strangers. Though honestly I'm not sure it's better because now she has regular stories of people getting incredibly aggressive and threatening when she refuses to take unsealed food :|

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u/nummakayne Dec 09 '21

I know “drinks getting spiked in a club” is a very real thing but I never even thought this is something the homeless also have to deal with, holy fucking shit.

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u/TellPuzzleheaded6932 Dec 09 '21

About 12 years ago, a cafe in my hometown laced food with laxatives and handed it out to the homeless population. They then set up a camera outside the one public toilet in the area. I’m so glad that I left that place.

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u/elveszett Dec 09 '21

Why would a cafe do that?

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u/Exsces95 Dec 09 '21

Probably either because the employees are just fucking dicks or to somehow maybe get the homeless people to leave the specific spot.

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u/buckyspunisher Dec 09 '21

i hate people holy shit

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u/Geddy2112Lee Dec 08 '21

There was a time in my area that people were poisoning homeless via homemade sandwiches.

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u/saintofhate Dec 08 '21

Someone in my local subreddit reported some asshat was giving out sandwiches with feces in them.

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u/SecondTalon Dec 08 '21 Silver

You mean the now former cop, Matthew Luckhurst, who gave a shit-filled sandwich to a homeless man and was able to keep his job because of a law protecting cops, and was subsequently fired for further abuses?

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u/CgullRillo Dec 08 '21

There was a San Antonio police officer that was caught doing just that.

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u/Connect_Dog Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 09 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome Helpful (Pro)

Mostly related, but I work at a homeless shelter and you would not believe some of the shit that comes through donations. Lingerie, beat up clothing and shoes, outdated appliances... If you want to donate, you can always call ahead and see if the shelter is looking for particular items. Seasonal clothing, hygiene items (NOT half used shampoo bottles) and new socks and underwear are always good ideas.

Edit: thanks for the awards! For those asking, my shelter always has lots of donations including full bottles of shampoos so I would rather give out a full bottle rather than half.

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u/DaemonDrayke Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 09 '21 Wholesome Seal of Approval

That reminds me of my time when I worked at a homeless center for mentally ill homeless and I was tasked with sorting out a box of dvd’s that were donated. 75% of the box was porn.

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u/ioCross Dec 08 '21 Helpful

im pretty sure most ppl who 'donate' stuff just have some junk that they don't want to throw away as its perfectly usable, but they have no use or space for.

i think the 'will this actually help whoever im donating to' is secondary to 'not wasting an item' , and in their eyes they are saints for letting another person have their garbage.

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u/DaemonDrayke Dec 08 '21 Silver Wholesome

One man’s trash is another man’s wacking material.

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u/[deleted] Dec 08 '21

I've always thought that donations to shelters (or Goodwill) are just the average person's solution to an inability to part with an object by putting it in the trash. I believe my wife has hoarding tendencies; she once saved a broken Keurig coffee maker with the idea that someone would purchase it from Goodwill and proceed to fix it. Talk about a lack of compassion or understanding... giving people broken things that they must repair?!?

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u/yeahyouoverthere Dec 08 '21

Absolutely. I worked for a nonprofit fundraising thrift store and I cannot tell you how many thousands of dollars we lost a year to have dumpsters full of others people donated trash hauled away.

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u/squamouser Dec 09 '21

I live next to a charity shop with a dumpster outside and there are constantly homeless people digging through it to find anything worth having. I feel like there must be a better system - somewhere people can just heap stuff and anyone can help themselves.

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u/MyMelancholyBaby Dec 08 '21

Goodwill *used* to fix things that were donated. They trained people with skills like sharpening knives, fixing basic electrical appliances like toasters, professional laundry work (including dry cleaning).

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u/Zebirdsandzebats Dec 08 '21

I'm pretty sure Habitat for Humanity ReStores at least check--if not repair--electronics they sell and don't sell broken stuff. ReStores are the SHIT.

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u/BurnTheOrange Dec 08 '21

I made so many trips to ReStore fixing up my old house and donated two literal truckloads of stuff to them when i was done.

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u/Oneadventurer2020 Dec 09 '21 Gold

I’m currently working on the construction side of a habitat affiliate in Oregon as an Americorps member. The ReStores keep us funded so we can keep building for lower income families. In other words, I second “ReStores are the SHIT” and encourage people to reach out to their local affiliate and see if they need volunteers.

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u/xxjasper012 Dec 08 '21

My local Goodwills test all their electronics before they put them out. If it broken but its still sellable they put a note on it saying what's wrong with it

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u/mmmegan6 Dec 08 '21

Join (or start) a Buy Nothing Facebook group in your area. Just today I gave away two brand new shower curtains (wrong size) and picked up an ice cube tray for freezing coconut milk (smoothies). Saved money and the planet, got to know some of my neighbors. Win win win.

Here’s a great article about them.

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u/theillinoissenator Dec 08 '21

Second this… I lived somewhere that had a massive support for buy nothing. I was really active here. I live in OC now and buy nothing isn’t much supported.

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u/TomCat182 Dec 08 '21 Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote

I used to work for a non profit and we gave out branded tire pressure gauges (I'm not sure why, I thought it was an odd choice), but we found out one day while outreaching that some of our clients were turning them into crack pipes. Needless to say we stopped giving those out haha

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u/DrCrentistDMI Dec 08 '21

How did that start?

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u/KillYourUsernames Dec 08 '21 Wholesome

Tire pressure gauges are in the sweet spot of branded promotional items because they have a useful purpose, people commonly don't have one already, and they're easy to store away until needed.

The key question when picking a branded promo item is "Is it something that people will reasonably find value in AND do they not already have one?". You don't want them to think it's the best gift ever, you just want them to remember it and not immediately throw it away.

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u/Unfair_Fortune920 Dec 09 '21

I’m in business development, and I am always on the hunt for some sweet swag to give out to clients and prospects…as far as lower cost stuff, personally I really like branded sharpies. It would depend on the intended client whether those would be in black or a color.

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u/lizardgal10 Dec 09 '21 Silver

Branded Sharpies is an EXCELLENT idea. I always need a Sharpie; I couldn’t care less what logo’s on it.

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u/TomCat182 Dec 08 '21

I'm not sure! They had them when I started working there

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u/BlonktimusPrime Dec 08 '21

Probably was a car business or dealership who donated a bunch at one point for some stupid reason.

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u/MajorNoodles Dec 08 '21

Someone realized they could be turned into crack pipes and had a light bulb moment

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u/WonBigMayor Dec 08 '21

I worked a tire store’s grand opening event and they had a couple booths set up for those in recovery and homeless outreach. I work for a radio station so I’m working my booth talking to people handing out swag and it was a tire store so we had tire pressure gages and the guys in recovery kept asking for a different swag item. One of them finally told me after 2 hours. I felt like a giant turd.

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u/CouncilmanRickPrime Dec 08 '21

You guys gave tire pressure gauges to everyone or homeless people exclusively?

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u/TomCat182 Dec 08 '21

We would hand them out at events sometimes but mostly gave them to homeless people sleeping in cars and whatnot!

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u/CouncilmanRickPrime Dec 08 '21

Oh ok that does make sense

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u/gwiggle5 Dec 08 '21 Wholesome Seal of Approval

knocks on tent flap

"Excuse me, homeless person? I have a gift for you."

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u/Nayre_Trawe Dec 08 '21

"That's right, it's an aspirational tire gauge!"

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u/ThisIsNotMyPornVideo Dec 08 '21 Silver

No uncooked food (Raw meats, Veggies like Potatos or eggplant)
Anything Boozy.
High Value Items I.E expensive shirts with the brand visible, because who would you give your money too, the dude in rags, or the dude in the Supreme shirt?
Canned food without a pull tab.

on another note what you should give.
Dry shampoo since its easier to rinse out
Hand sanitizer gel.
Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Warm clothes and leftover blankets (Especially if its winter like rn)

and insoles, they run around all day in beat up shoes and god damn as someone still is to poor to afford proper shoes insoles may not make it perfect, but a whole lot better

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u/funkyonion Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 09 '21 Wholesome

Apples, try softer foods.

Edit: Thank you for the upvotes. If there’s anyone with the savvy for fundraising, I know an individual in Lahaina that could really use some attention. I call him blind Mike. He absolutely is blind, and says it’s from cataracts that can be corrected with surgery. The guy toting along with him uses him as a hustle and takes most of the drive by offerings. I’ve spent a good amount of time talking to him. That said, he is alcoholic and not willing to help himself - but geeze, if there’s a way to get his vision back I’m more than happy to coach him from there.

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u/hey_zeus_cree_stay Dec 08 '21

You know, I usually take an apple with me to work as an easy snack. On my commute, I usually pass several houseless folks. Typically, I offer them my apple since I usually don’t carry cash/change on me. I was surprised how many of them have refused because they physically don’t think they can bite into an apple without f*cking up their teeth/mouth. Really flabbergasted me at first, thinking a nice nutritious fruit would be a treat. Now I bring oranges and they are thrilled. Soft foods ftw

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u/caitejane310 Dec 08 '21

Yeah I haven't eaten an apple in years because of my bad teeth. I recently got the rest of them (14 teeth) removed and I'm gonna get fitted for dentures at the end of December. Apples is on my list of food for A.D. After Dentures, lol.

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u/TheCavesCrack Dec 08 '21 Silver Gold Helpful Starry

I've done outreach work they get so much food and water but females need feminine hygiene products and they ALLLLLLL need socks

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u/LadyBug_0570 Dec 08 '21

Ever watch Shark Tank? I remember seeing when the Bomba Socks founders made their pitch and got an investment (I forget from who).

Now they have commercials and kept their mission statement of giving socks to the homeless. Those were really good guys. Glad to see them doing well and giving to the homless.

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u/MotivBowler300 Dec 08 '21

+1 for Bombas. They’re so comfortable!

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u/gele-gel Dec 08 '21

My Sorority collected bras and feminine products for an organization which supports homeless women. They were so happy to receive them. Next year we will be collecting feminine products for a middle school in our service area. (I had never heard of period poverty.)

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u/HUNGRY_PAPI_LIKE_YOU Dec 08 '21

It makes me sad that not all women have access to these products, I'm not a female but from the word of a female friend in MS who lived in poverty, once her shelter started handing out feminine products it made her life so much better. Hope she's doing better now.

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u/NewPalpitation1830 Dec 08 '21

Rewashing and drying crappy paper towels is no fun.

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u/HandsyBread Dec 08 '21 Silver

Nice socks and underwear are a small luxury that most people don't spend enough money on but make a world of a difference. I buy 10-20 pairs of Darn tough socks every year and hand them out, they are game changing. They keep you warm and dry in the winter, and in the summer time cool and dry. You can usually wear them for 1-2 weeks before needing to clean (need being an important word). And they are incredibly comfortable. I highly recommend them to everyone but they are really game changing for someone who is out in the elements year round.

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u/geminimindtricks Dec 08 '21

Shoutout to Darn Tough! One of vermont's finest products. Used to live in Northfield near the factory and people come from all over the state when they do their annual sale.

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u/vanity1066 Dec 08 '21

Yes! I always like to keep a pair of clean socks in my backpack just for that reason. Or extra water when it's hot.

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u/BangleWaffle Dec 08 '21

Yup, our shelters here specifically ask for new socks and underwear to be donated above anything else. Hygiene is so important, and that is the first line of defense.

And good winter clothing. Where I live temperatures regularly go below -30C and do drop below -40C every winter. Homeless people die every winter here and I can't imagine being outside in that, even with the best winter gear imaginable.

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u/justwannasleepplease Dec 08 '21 Silver

Laxatives. This homeless guy that used to live in a nearby bridge was given food that secretly had some sort of laxative in it. Needless to say, he became a lot more wary of free food afterwards. I don’t think they ever found out who the POS that did it was.

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u/Whowhatwhynguyen Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

Christ that’s terrible. I remember that story of the guy who replaced the Oreo cream with toothpaste and gave them out to the homeless.

At least in this case the piece of shit was caught:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/youtuber-sentenced-oreo-toothpaste-prank_n_5cf5177ae4b0e8085e3d4d7f

Edit: changed link to another site that doesn’t suck (as much)

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u/ClownfishSoup Dec 08 '21

"The 21-year-old's defence in court was that he does it to "mount a show" arguing "people like what is morbid".

But a judge ruled it was not an isolated incident, and said he had previously shown cruel behaviour toward vulnerable people. In one incident, he offered older people and children sandwiches filled with cat faeces."

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u/SmileyMcTrashbag Dec 08 '21

I kinda want to kick this guys face in.

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u/Future-Atmosphere-40 Dec 08 '21

I want to feed him toothpaste and shit filled sandwiches.

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u/SmileyMcTrashbag Dec 08 '21

Yup. Give it right back to his stupid ass.

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u/elizabubblehead Dec 08 '21 Wholesome Cake

Went to read this and it asked me to accept cookies. Can’t trust anyone.

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u/Rbot_OverLord Dec 08 '21

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u/diuge Dec 08 '21

after a third-party arbitrator on Friday refused to overturn his indefinite suspension for an unrelated feces incident.

WTF.

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u/chemicalgeekery Dec 08 '21

unrelated feces incident

There was more than one!?!?!

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u/sneakyplanner Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

He spread fake shit on a toilet and that was what he got fired for, not the shit sandwich. And apparently he also has issues with harassing women. Never could have seen that coming, he seemed like such a nice, normal guy.

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u/OakenBones Dec 08 '21

100% that dude plays with his shit when he’s at home.

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u/pill_slinger Dec 08 '21

TIL the phrase unrelated feces incident

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u/ChairmanMeow3145 Dec 08 '21

I wonder what the ‘second, unrelated feces incident“ was?!?

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u/chiree Dec 08 '21

You gotta be a special type of awful to mess with homeless people.

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u/landob Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

Yeah thats some bullshit.

I used to be a fastfood chicken manager. One night while closing I was tossing out garbage and heard a rustle in the dumpster. turned out it was a homeless guy looking for food. I felt bad for him and was like hold on man I'll brb. We always throw out a ton of food so I went to go get him some of the chicken we had boxed up to take home for ourselves/toss out. When I came back I handed him a box.

He was like "You didn't poison this with bleach or something did you?" I was like wha? Why would I do that..... The look on his face I could tell it was a serious question. So I took a leg out and ate it in front of him.

The thought that people would do that to someone made me so mad.

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u/Babou_Serpentine Dec 08 '21

Happened to me when visiting NYC years ago. We were at a KFC and I accidentally ordered a family size bucket somehow and barely ate it. Went to give the rest to a homeless man outside and he almost confrontationally asked me what I did to it. I said nothing I just ordered too much and didn't want to throw it out. He looked at me suspiciously and declined it. I figured he had been fucked with by somebody too bad before and just wasn't taking chances. World has some messed up people in it.

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u/PapalanderII Dec 08 '21

There was this one woman that sold tea on the street whom had her tea spilled over by a bunch of cunts. People who do these kinda stuff aren't even human in my eyes.

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u/1ofZuulsMinions Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21 Silver Gold Helpful

When I was a homeless kid, I used to get most of my meals from this one Burger King dumpster on Canal St in N.O.. I never made a mess because I didn’t want to get caught, but they must have seen me because they started dumping bleach all over the old food. I tried to sift them out, but one day I ate a burger with bleach on it and got really sick 🤮 I was 14. Fuck them for poisoning a hungry kid.

Edit: Thanks to all of you for showing concern ❤️ I actually just bought my first house about 2 years ago and turned it into a perpetual art project. My kitchen floor made top post around a year or so ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/mildlyinteresting/comments/ebomu9/i_made_a_hidden_glowinthedark_galaxy_in_my_resin/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

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u/ClownfishSoup Dec 08 '21

Ugh, your story took a turn for the worst, I was thinking you were going to say "They noticed and started leaving fresh burgers" in there.

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u/ijustsailedaway Dec 08 '21

Two kinds of people. I just saw a story yesterday about some store that started setting expired food beside the dumpster instead of into it. Then on the other end of the spectrum you have this.

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u/kreystan Dec 08 '21

When I was a store manager years ago for a grocery store I opened a store in a not so great location. I noticed people were dumpster diving and the company policy was to dump bleach on it did it for a week or so till corporate left then, whatever got claimed out as bad product I would sort and put out next to the dumpsters for people to pick up. I never liked that these companies just throw away all that good food even if a can is dented but I had a few people who would come by pretty often clean up the dumpsters and do odd jobs for me as thanks for sorting the food for them.

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u/reasonforduality Dec 08 '21

I hate food waste and it was a small reason why I left my pastry chef apprenticeship. The amount of perfectly good food (like custom cakes that the customer canceled last minute), two-day-old bread that did not sell, and more was just dumped in a huge black dumpster. I asked my boss, why they didn't just donate it to a food bank, at first he was like "we tried but it did not work out, because the people picking it up were never on time", but another employee told me that he does not do that, so the "image" of his baked goods would be diminished if it was public that we gave to poor people (it was a fancy confiserie with many higher tier costumes or some bs). I later worked in a smallish restaurant, and we had almost no food waste because if an item was gone for the day it was gone with no need to have shelves overloaded with stuff.

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u/chiree Dec 08 '21

Dude! The restaurant I used to work at would set aside unspoiled food next to the dumpster for this exact reason. Like, $20 ribs and $5 fries and shit. What monsters.

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u/Erbear1999 Dec 08 '21

This is a really helpful and insightful post! I am currently doing a fundraiser to make care packages for the homeless and need to know what not to get

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u/Pineapplegirl810 Dec 08 '21

Stuff that they have to carry around.

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u/isthatabee Dec 08 '21

I bought a homeless man a bottle of sunscreen, an ice cream cone, and a large bottle of water and some protein bars before as it was >40°C in Canada and he always sits by the intersection where I work and I couldn’t imagine how sunburnt he would be. I was curious as to why he didn’t accept the sunscreen or protein bars but this comment offers some clarity

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u/Loocsiyaj Dec 08 '21

I always keep a few packs of things unscented baby wipes in my car and hand those out. They are great for cleaning up anything. They are actually really good against oily dirt also.

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u/KittyBizkit Dec 08 '21

Sunscreen is greasy, and they don't have easy access to a shower to clean up or even wash their hands after applying it. If you can't wash it off, then it gets on your sleeping bag and clothes making them less warm and just overall nasty.

I haven't been homeless before, but I have done some long distance hiking and did everything I possibly could to avoid sunscreen. Hats with a wide brim around the entire thing, long sleeve white shirts, UV blocking gloves, etc.

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u/Fisherman_Gabe Dec 08 '21

The few homeless in my area keep their belongings in shopping carts that they push around. They happily take anything useful and will bring it to other needy people if they don't want it for themselves.
Pretty neat.

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u/TrinketChicken Dec 08 '21 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Take My Energy Faith In Humanity Restored Starry

I'm really surprised I haven't seen this answer, but anything of noticeably high value.

Brand name clothing or shoes, expensive backpacks, watches, etc.

This can get them killed, or at the very least targeted and mugged. It also makes things harder for them to be taken seriously and receive effective aid if they're dressed in expensive clothing (that or it's assumed they stole it, which is a whole other problem).

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u/pacman404 Dec 08 '21

This should honestly be the top answer. Rich people want to make themselves feel good and donate Gucci sweaters and shit that will get them fucked up and robbed, and nobody will EVER help a dude in a Gucci sweater with a few bucks to get some food. It's just all around a really screwed up gift/donation

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u/The_Void_Reaver Dec 08 '21

My friend, who used to float around the city, took my $50, won at a high school raffle, shitty beach cruiser and rode it over to the beach. Apparently the bike was enough to get beaten and robbed over and he was pretty fucking bloodied over $5 worth of aluminum to take down to the scrap-yard.

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u/decleyre36 Dec 08 '21

My tip as a homeless man is to avoid other homeless people at all costs unless they are obviously a part of your particular subculture. I dread having to navigate through city centres when I'm traveling to a new destination but sometimes it's unavoidable.

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u/ScabiesShark Dec 09 '21

This is my number one rule. There are nice people, and I'll help in little ways in passing, when I can, but I will not hang out with other homeless people.

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u/mr_chanderson Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

There was a video of a social experiment I saw awhile ago, where some people cleaned, and dressed up a homeless person in a full suit in NYC, gave him a phone and a generic watch. The instruction for him was to stand outside... Like maybe a Starbucks or something pretend to be talking on the phone, and stop some people to ask for some change like a couple quarters to a dollar or two. Turns out most people were more willing to help out a person who looks more well put together.

Edit: here is the video I was talking about: https://youtu.be/98WpUaR9mAE

Misremembered a lot of things, just FYI, so sorry for the misinformation, I gotta be better to not be a part of the problem of spreading misinformation. Ending was pretty disheartening and got me choked up a bit, made me rethink about helping the homeless again. I've become cold towards them since the time I was also in a financially bad place and decided to give a dollar to a guy then turns out he went next door to buy scratch ticket. Since then I felt so angry and distrust them.

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u/-newlife Dec 08 '21

Didn’t think of that. That’s a good point.

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u/quaquero Dec 08 '21 Wholesome

Milk -based foods. If a person spends some years without consuming dairy products, they loose their ability to digest lactose. Lactose intolerance increases with age. (I googled to provide a reference, and there are many. So you can google if you want to check this)

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u/Reasonable_Zebra2653 Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21

Gatorade. I tried handing out some bottles of ice cold Gatorade one summer and I got turned down by over a dozen people, apparently it gives them the runs. I was thinking electrolytes...🤷🏼‍♀️

Edit: I was in my twenties, it was 105 degrees, I had a big pack of cold Gatorade bottles, thought, eh I'll drive around and hand these out. Everyone passed because they told me that Gatorade gives them the shits. I know water is better. It's what I had at the time. I wasn't trying to be a shitty person. Pun intended.

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u/echaa Dec 08 '21

It's got what plants crave.

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u/JoWins29 Dec 08 '21

I was asked for cash by a homeless woman at a gas station recently. I didn’t have any and told her so. Asked her if there was anything in particular she wanted from inside and her response was “cigarettes”. So I bought her a pack of cigarettes. That is literally the first time in my 30+ years I have ever bought cigarettes.

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u/Bodybybeers Dec 08 '21 Helpful

Attachments for their kitchen aid stand mixer

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u/guvakkamole Dec 08 '21

Toaster perhaps? Garlic press? Dining set for twelve people?

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u/Rawdogassasin69 Dec 08 '21

Unwanted life lessons or lectures, you don’t know them or their struggles or their story.

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u/pandemicpunk Dec 08 '21 Helpful

Those fake dollar bills with biblical scripture on them. Doing as a tip is already scummy af. Doing so to homeless is the antithesis of Christianity.

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u/Reeftankz10000 Dec 08 '21

For thanksgiving I saw a couple hand a turkey to a homeless guy that was panhandling. Sounds sweet right? Except it was raw defrosted meat and he had A. to stop panhandling for cash and get in the bus to go back home, or B the meat goes bad….

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u/patrickseastarslegs Dec 08 '21

Go back home to where?

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u/Knee_Jerk_Sydney Dec 08 '21

To the couple's home, set it on fire and cook the turkey there.

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u/Jaefarlii Dec 08 '21 Wholesome

Drugs. They will just use them to get money.

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u/Roll9ers Dec 08 '21

i used to walk to work through a huge camp and i would sometimes smoke a joint on that walk, i always have several on me, and i would give them to whoever said something about it or asked for something. if they asked for money i would say "how bout a joint instead." they loved it because it was so easily tradeable even if they didnt want it themselves.

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u/Antikythera22 Dec 09 '21

Ciggies work this way too!

And lighters. Good trades.

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u/1feralengineer Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Ally Wholesome Seal of Approval To The Stars Doot 🎵 Doot

A hard time

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u/arc_alt Dec 08 '21 Take My Energy

And disrespect

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u/fuzzycorona Dec 08 '21 Narwhal Salute

Fake Christian money

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u/Onayepheton Dec 08 '21

That's a thing that exists?

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u/elemonated Dec 08 '21

As someone who worked in food service, yes it does -.-"

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u/UpstairsGlove Dec 08 '21

Housekeeping too! It's just as disrespectful as trashing the room imo.

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u/solorna Dec 08 '21

Yes it is. It looks like a folded up bill. I have seen them as high as $100 but as low as $5. So imagine you are homeless and someone hands you a folded in half, five dollar bill. And you unfold it... only to realize it just LOOKS LIKE a five dollar bill from the outside. The interior is a Christian tract.

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u/DrCrentistDMI Dec 08 '21

Yep, they "tip" at restaurants with it too.

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u/amorphous_machine Dec 09 '21 Helpful Wholesome

I was homeless and a guy threw a pack of razor blades in my lap and said "do the world a favor" so I did, I used them to shave to help me find work. A month later I was in a caravan with a job to go to. Six months later I had a car. Now I live in an apartment complex and have a full time job.

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u/Maudmabel Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful

Years ago, I was nipping to my local supermarket and there was a homeless dude with a cute dog curled up next to him. Mindful that any money I gave him may be spent unwisely, I said I'd get his pupper some food. At which he responded "...oh for fuck's sake, can you NOT?". Astonished, I was about to have a fucking meltdown on his ass, but he held up a finger and pulled a bag round from behind him. It was rammed with tins of dog food, clearly from other well meaning shoppers. Closing the bag back up, he sighed heavily and exclaimed: "for the love of God, can you just buy me a fucking tin opener?"

Edit: wow, thank you so much for your responses to this, which were entirely unexpected - and thank you too, for the awards! Understandably, some of you have pulled me up on my assumption that the homeless guy may have 'spent the money unwisely', so I thought I'd better provide more information as to my thinking at the time.

There was a real issue in those days, with homelessness, drug taking and alcoholism, which I know is still a problem EVERYWHERE. I get it, I really do - but I had just lost a dear friend to a drug overdose and I was as raw as fuck over it.

So, in short, I didn't want to be the reason behind someone else's oblivion. Hope that explains it.

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u/Respect4All_512 Dec 08 '21

I've been told to donate canned food with pull tops for this exact reason.

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u/lulugingerspice Dec 08 '21

Closing the bag back up, he sighed heavily and exclaimed: "for the love of God, can you just buy me a fucking tin opener?"

Is it terrible that I burst out laughing at this part? I hope you got that guy his can opener!

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u/raktoe Dec 08 '21 Silver

Reminds me a lot of the joke where a sex addict, an alcoholic, and a stoner are only going to be allowed into heaven on the condition that they last 100 years without being tempted by their vices. The sex addict is put in a room with a ton of beautiful women, the alcoholic all the booze he could ever want, and the stoner put in a room with literal tones of weed, bongs, pipes, papers, etc. after 100 years, when Jesus comes to check on them, he checks on the sex addict first. Several of the women are pregnant, so he gets sent to hell. The alcoholic does no better, as he is clearly intoxicated and most of the liquor is gone. When he checks on the stoner, he finds thousands of perfectly rolled joints, bowls packed to the rim and pipes ready to smoke. But to his surprise, not a gram of the weed has been smoked. He finds the stoner, and is about to congratulate him, when he gets on his hands and knees and says “for the love of god, please tell me you brought a lighter”.

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u/Maudmabel Dec 08 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome

Yes lol! Not only did I buy him a tin opener - I got his dog a bowl as well!

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u/Mini-Heart-Attack Dec 08 '21

Bet he was very grateful.

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u/Kai_T4 Dec 08 '21

imagine going to a homeless person and offering to give them a tin opener, they say "can you not" and show you a full bag of tin openers

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u/shingomido Dec 08 '21

Oh my god. Never thought of that - throwing food at someone that can’t even open it!!!

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u/hermitlikeindividual Dec 08 '21

One must not throw canned food at people. It hurts.

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u/maplesyr0p Dec 08 '21

Hahaha. I’ve had heard that people can be more sympathetic with a dog.

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u/scorpiologist Dec 08 '21

Well, did you buy him a tip opener or not?

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u/AustinDiggler Dec 08 '21

I'm in NYC. There's the homeless one should avoid like the plague, and then there's the homeless who one can approach and give food, or a few bucks. It bothers me to say, but as a New Yorker, you develop the savvyness, and instinct to size up the difference REALLY fucking fast.

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u/OptionalCookie Dec 08 '21

I'm a train operator.

The ones you give food to are the ones who are keeping to themselves and sitting the corner.

The ones you don't give to are the ones actively asking -- 90% of time I see them shooting up heroin near the 10 car marker -- or like you said, the crazy ones.

I started to have to keep cigarettes in order to get homeless people off of the train.

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u/SaveCachalot346 Dec 08 '21

Have you ever heard about a guy named Matt who really needed to get money to buy a Dremel so he could turn his life around? This happened on either a 4 or a 5 train about 2 Years ago.

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u/thelegumepolice7 Dec 08 '21

I'm sensing you're holding back on some story here, dude. Did he get the dremel? Did his life turn around. Goddamnitmandon'tleavemehanginglikethis!

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u/[deleted] Dec 08 '21 Silver Wholesome

[deleted]

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u/magsterchief Dec 08 '21

i saw a comment on reddit once that said something like “what they do with their money says something about them, but my judging them or refusing to help says something about me.”

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u/flblk2020 Dec 08 '21 edited Dec 08 '21 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy

Internet fame. Stop recording your good deeds to get attention. If you wanna help someone out, just help them

Edit: A lot of people were confused by this so I just want to clarify. There IS a difference between using someone for personal gain versus using social media in a positive way to truly make an impact. I'm talking about people who exploit others to grow their channel, and/or get a ton of donations and then misuse the funds. It's specifically an asshole move when a person can't/wont/isn't given an option to consent (which you could argue are a lot of people, especially if they don't give consent and then arent given resources since they don't wanna be in a video.)

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u/XRdragon Dec 09 '21

Fake money with religious ads in it.