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Hand Out Snack Bags to the Homeless

Many of us are moved to reach out to those "homeless and hungry" people by the roadside, but are reluctant to offer money because of not wanting to support drug or alcohol abuse.

I have a friend who instead of giving out cash, keeps little snack bags in her car which she hands out to them. You can include some small toiletry items as well. Breakfast bars, snack crackers, small boxes of raisins or other dried fruit, trail mix, etc. are some suggestions.

Another idea to consider is to buy the 2 for $2 breakfast sandwiches at McDonald's and similar fast food establishments. When I have had to grab a quick breakfast on the run, I have purchased them, ate one for my own breakfast and then gave the other one to the first homeless person I saw.

In the bigger cities so many of these people spend their days in a public park. They go to the trashcans seeking leftovers from someone's picnic or lunch. Instead of stuffing your uneaten, yet still good food, into the trash can. Sit it in the bag on top of or beside the can. It will be gone before you get far.

The economic struggle we are all affected by hits these people even harder because donations are down. These ways of sharing cost us nothing but may mean the difference of eating or not to someone else.

By Sandy from Elon, NC

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By Betty [104]01/31/2010

This is a very touching story and has opened my eyes. I see people on the corners with buckets, etc but I have never noticed if they are wearing hats and gloves.I just thought most were looking for a handout. Your comments have changed the way I see these people. I will be more observant in the future and be more likely to give.

By Karyn [29]03/29/2009

My work invoives dealing with the homeless. The one thing I realized after all these years is with any dealings with these people, always treat them with respect. They are people too. Yes they have drug and alcohol addictions, yes they have mental health issues, but they too have feelings. Some of my nicest client's live on the streets and I would do all I could to help them. They don't always ask for much.

When you see people panhandling on the street corner, yes it may be to provide for their addictions, but at other times it is for so much more. One of my client's required glasses so he could see properly. He panhandled long enough to purchase his own pair without relying on the system to purchase them. Yes they were prescription glasses. Others do it for food, or even a gift for their nieces birthday. We don't know what they have going on in their lives, but the little bit you may be able to give may make the world of difference in their lives.

By sandy [63]02/23/2009

I think I might be saying what someone else already did but, around here they don't want food, they want money and a lot of it. I have been refused and said they don't want crackers and an apple. Here I am I do get my food from the food bank, but try to help when I can.

By Carol Churchill [18]02/22/2009

A friend keeps oranges and easter eggs in his car for distribution.

By Becca25 [11]02/22/2009

While we all feel accomplished when we help out those in need, we must choose wisely. Some "homeless" people know they can manipulate people and earn a profit.

While this doesnt mean ALL people we think are homeless arent, just like the post about the walmart scheme.

I, personally, have ran into at least three of these situations. Once, a lady and a boy in Hawaii was asking people for money. These were clearly tourists out looking for a handout.

There was this lady, Cleo "the bag lady". She would scrounge the neighborhood day in and day out for cans and would sit on the bench at the grocer store looking a bit out of shape. People would donate to her. At the age of 10, me and curious friends followed her around one day. Turns out... Cleo lives in an expensive house and drives nice cars... you just never see her flaunting her stuff. Also, one day seen her at the store counting her money. She must have had a couple thousand on her body. Maybe she earned this from collecting cans through her life, but sounds a bit wrong to me.

Another instance... We stopped at McDonalds for a break when I was younger. There was a lady on the overpass corner dressed in shredded clothes begging for change. After a short while, she walked across the street to McDonalds and took off the trashed clothes to reveal a pretty decent suit and hopped inside her Lincoln!

It appears that the women who are "homeless" are usually just scammers. I rarely see female homeless people at that.

Even though we do a good deed offering items/money/food to homeless people, be careful because a lot of folks are looking for handouts because they are greedy. Which is a shame because people are truly in need.

By logcabinlady (Guest Post)02/22/2009

A few years ago I always saw a man sitting on a bench with lots of plastic grocery sacks on the bench with him. After seeing him for about 5 months, (it was close to Christmas and cold) it dawned on me that that he might need a blanket. I went home and crocheted one for him out of all my leftover yarn. I then found a brand new backpack that was given to me from my work and filled it up with hotel soap, shampoo, etc. as well as other things including some cookies, bars, etc.

I then went with a friend to the man and told him Merry Christmas and handed him the backpack with the blanket and other things. He was very, very polite, but refused. I do not know why, but thanked me and said that he didn't need anything. I told him he could put his numerous sacks inside the backpack and not have to carry them and again, he said thank you, but no. I was devastated.

I kept the backpack in the trunk of my car wondering what to do with it. One day, my husband, daughter and I were eating at McDonalds and there was what appeared to be a homeless man drinking coffee, trying to get warm. I did not have the courage to offer the gift for fear of being rejected again. So, I had my daughter take it into him and she said he was very grateful. Whether he was homeless or not, he accepted it gratefully. I was very happy.

By Julie [49]02/21/2009

I know that little girl loved being warm by your blanket. How thoughtful. Your story of the man in the car living made me want to go a bit further into the lady who lived in the car for 5 years who they found passed away. I guess her car broke down by the gas station on the bypass where it was at which was on an off road but could still seen when you drove by. And she had it packed full of her belongings. They called her the shoe lady, because she lots of clothes and always matched up her color clothes with the same color shoes. She wore tons of perfume most likely to cover any body scent she thought she might have. She never smelled bad from BO just too much perfume.

She would walk to the nearest shopping center her in our town and would go to each store asking for an application for any type work. They would give her the application to fill out but she never got hired. One day in the summer she had just walked out of the dollar store from filling out an application.

We ask the store employee why they would not hire her. They said they have to let her fill out the paper work but will not hire her, never really gave a good reason. They said she would come by every 2-3 months to fill out another application. If you tried to give her money she never took it that I saw, she would just tell you how she can work and use to have a home until she lost her job and had to live in her car.

The police knew she was in her car so they never towed it or anything. and she was in it for 5 years. And after a while no one saw her walking the bypass and then found her in her car dead. Our town is small but we have 3-4 homeless that I know of, I'm sure there are more. It just puzzled me as to why the police never seen to help them in some way. But most often they don't want help I guess, prideful I'm sure.

It does bother me how people walk through the walmart parking lots and hustle money. Or they do in our super center walmart here. I know this because often times I wait for my husband while he goes in for items and just within the last 2 months I saw two women hustling for money. You don't know at first because you just see they asking for money so without judgment it is given to them. But then they get close enough to our car to where you hear the changing stories they tell to get cash.

Which one womans reasons were "my purse was stollen so I need to get back up to so & so destination and need the cash, then moments later she changed it to; my husband left me and I have to get money for my light bill.

The worst one was that I saw a lady get out of her car, walk to her trunk get her cane the whole time looking at things in her trunk reading papers then she walked away from her car and put on sunglasses and acting like she was blind and asking people for money.

Then as she got money she would put up her cane and go inside walmart to just walk around and ask for money in there then go back outside and do the blind routine again. When people saw this they went inside to report it and they checked her on the security monitors and saw her routine she was doing to hustle people and ordered her to leave.

So with some people its hard to tell of there intentions. And thats a shame for the ones who really need help and may not get it.

By Lynne02/21/2009

I wanted to state I think this is wonderful. I know we do a lot on Freecycle and we do a lot for our community with free clothing and free blankets and free furniture. That we get from other people that are just cleaning up and going to throw away stuff you know? so this is wonderful that all of you are doing as well. If more could and would help it would be a better place to live. God Bless you all and keep up the marvelous work to help those in need. As it keeps unfortunately growing everyday.

By Becca25 [11]02/21/2009

This is my favorite post, I LOVE IT! People often misjudge me because I have numerous piercings and tattoos.

When I was visiting home, my sister told me about a homeless guy ( a storage customer of hers ) that lives out his car. Literally, the car is broke down and he stores all his junk in it. He would wear the same stenchy clothes day in and day out.

Being the sweetheart I am, I went to the thrift store. I purchased him 5 pair of slacks, 4 button ups, 3 sweaters, a heavy jackets, and several t shirts. All for less than $20! Name brand items in nearly perfect condition at that.

My $20 blessed him with a complete wardrobe! However, to save him from embarrassment of hand outs, we confidentially left them by his vehicle while he was away.

Even though it was my last $20, it was the best $20 I spent because I know he appreciates it.

One year coming back from vacation, my family and another family was outside the airport in the freezing cold waiting on shuttles. I had a blanket that I made wrapped around me for warmth. The little girl in the other family was freezing and no one had warm clothes because it was a freak ice storm that happened overnight. I was heart broken by the pleas of "I'm cold, mommy" so I loaned the blanket that I was keeping warm with to the little girl. I chose my discomfort to help someone who needed it more.

By scarlettr (Guest Post)02/21/2009

You can also put a snack pack with some wet wipes. You can get a 10 pack of toothbrushes at the dollar store. I stay at hotels sometimes and can give all thoese little bottles of lotion, shampoo, conditoner, even mouthwash,. Sure helps to have a comb or brush as well . Deoroant ,colonge anything you have extras of . Clean used socks, underware is cheap at walmart and dollar stores. A purse or wallet you have no use for. Clean shirts ,black sweats, can help make a person in need look clean and neat to go anywere they need to. Lets all do our part to help out.

By Keeper [57]02/21/2009

You gave me some more wonderful ideas. Thank you.Not only do I have some blankets in my car for "just in case". I also bought one size fits all gloves and hats at the local dollar store. I'm blessed with a warm home, food, a car and most everything some still take for granted.

Last week when England had the worst snow storm in 18yrs. my friend told me stores ran out of gloves and other winter items, neighboring Iceland started knitting sweaters, mittens, etc. and shipping the homemade items to those in need in England. I remember hearing one time "charity begins at home but shouldn't stop there". In these trying times it's a shame NOT to"pay it forward". God help us all to be givers, not just takers.

By Laura Knight [1]02/20/2009

My friend used to do (maybe still does) the 2 for $2 McDonald's special. She'd buy a big bag for the purpose of just driving around once a week and ask ANYBODY she saw in places like the town plaza, if they'd like a sandwich. I loved that idea. Another thing she did (we live in a small town) was that she lived across the street from where frequently "homeless"/"transient", whatever label people congregated. She became known as the "Fried Egg Sandwich lady. Word was out. If you're hungry, go across the street, knock on that lady's door and be polite.

No questions asked. She'd make you a fried egg sandwich. She always kept eggs and bread in her kitchen for this regardless of her limited budget. She said, the thing about a fried egg sandwich is that they are so DELICIOUS when you are hungry. If you're only a little hungry, well, most people don't like them so much. Though many would accept a second serving, rarely would anyone accept a third! A special person.

By Anonymous [848]02/20/2009

So many wonderful stories and ideas! Both the 'Lunch Bag' and the story about the woman whom no one would give work and was found dead, well, I needed a few tissues for both of those stories! I never thought about keeping things in my car before to be helpful and will do so now!

I lived about a third of my life in L.A. and there are so many homeless there :-( Have grabbed a Big Mac now and then for some who lived in my neighborhood but the one person who touched me the most was a young man who asked for $5.00. I asked if he would buy food or would it be alcohol or drugs. He looked me square in the eye and said he just needed $5.00 more because he really wanted just one night to sleep in a real bed and be able to shower.

We all sometimes are so skeptical and I definitely was and pushed further to know which motel and how much money a night. He told me and pulled out his change and dollar bills to show me how much he had. I know it was dangerous but at the moment I felt safe and drove him to the motel and gave that last needed $5.00 to the clerk as he was checking in.

It felt good and I know he probably thinks of me now and then just like I think about him. I'll bet he slept like a baby that night and felt like a new man after a shower and a chance to watch TV or listen to the radio. Yes, any one of us could be in any one of their shoes!

God Bless and Pay It Forward.

By cw [1]02/20/2009

I'm very touched by this posting. The story of the sack lunches made me almost cry. I am glad I read this because now I too, will try to offer things to someone who may need them more than me. Thank you so much to everyone who posted here for sharing and for reminding me that sometimes the smallest things can make a huge difference to someone else.

By Julie [49]02/20/2009

It's true some may be alcoholic or on drugs but materialistic items like blankets, coats, are always needed from the hot or cold elements. It does not matter that the items have holes or rips in them for they are thankful to have them.

I remember when we lived in Illinois for 3 months while my husband was in Naval School so my daughter, and I stayed up there those 3 months with my husband in a efficiency apartment until we all moved back to our southern home state. We noticed an elderly lady that came by to look into the dumps each evening. It was so cold and snowy. My daughter then 4 years old said mom her head looks wet and cold because she had nothing on her head.

My daughter ask could we give her a tuboggin hat so we put it on the edge of the dumpster and that evening my daughter watched out the window as she took it and wore it. To see that love and care through my child's eyes for others will always stay in my heart and hers too I know. That post of the story of the Sack Lunches was so touching, thank you for putting it on. The chain of kindness really grows that we can not see from the tiny thing we each may do but continues to grow for another down the line.

By pam munro [447]02/20/2009

We have a homeless couple near our church who we try to support - Alas, they refuse to come inside and take housing offers. So we give them food - and I had a new ski jacket I didn't want which I gave the lady - and I see her wearing it this winter - Sorry to say some of the homeless around are belligerent and may be using drugs or alcohol - so it's hard to determine who to help sometimes.

By Leslie Hess [3]02/20/2009

A homeless guy in our town was standing at the corner with a sign that said he needed a tent and food. Our scout troop had just purchased new tents so I went to our storage garage and got one of our old tents. I unrolled it, set it up to make sure all the pieces were there. When I set it up, I found that one of the scouts had left $5 plus some change in the pocket of the tent. I thought there must be a reason I chose this tent. I left the money in the pocket and put the tent in my car. I drove to where he was standing and gave him the tent. His eyes swelled with tears and all he could say was thank you and God bless you. I asked if there was anything else he needed. He said that he could really use some propane for his camp stove. I told him to wait here and that I would be back. My son and I got in my car and went to Wal Mart which was a couple of blocks away. We purchased some small propane cans as well as cans of soup & stew. Knowing this would be a hot meal for him. We took them back and again he could barely compose himselft. My son who was 10 or 11 at the time felt so good that we were helping. To this day, my son is now almost 15 will say, Mom, there's our guy. Remember, we gave him a home. The first time he said this, I didn't know what to say but after thinking about it, we did give him a home.

I also buy blankets when they are really cheap. I keep them in the trunk of my car and will give them to the homeless when I see they need it.

Remember that old coat you had last winter, I promise a homeless person would be most greatful if you gave it to them.

I wish more people like all of you were around. These are people just like us that are down on their luck. Talk to them and ask them if there is anything they need. It may be something that you have laying around that would make their life more comfortable.

God Bless each of you for your care to others.

By Leslie Hess [3]02/20/2009

A homeless guy in our town was standing at the corner with a sign that said he needed a tent and food. Our scout troop had just purchased new tents so I went to our storage garage and got one of our old tents. I unrolled it, set it up to make sure all the pieces were there. When I set it up, I found that one of the scouts had left $5 plus some change in the pocket of the tent. I thought there must be a reason I chose this tent. I left the money in the pocket and put the tent in my car. I drove to where he was standing and gave him the tent. His eyes swelled with tears and all he could say was thank you and God bless you. I asked if there was anything else he needed. He said that he could really use some propane for his camp stove. I told him to wait here and that I would be back. My son and I got in my car and went to Wal Mart which was a couple of blocks away. We purchased some small propane cans as well as cans of soup & stew. Knowing this would be a hot meal for him. We took them back and again he could barely compose himselft. My son who was 10 or 11 at the time felt so good that we were helping. To this day, my son is now almost 15 will say, Mom, there's our guy. Remember, we gave him a home. The first time he said this, I didn't know what to say but after thinking about it, we did give him a home.

I also buy blankets when they are really cheap. I keep them in the trunk of my car and will give them to the homeless when I see they need it.

Remember that old coat you had last winter, I promise a homeless person would be most greatful if you gave it to them.

I wish more people like all of you were around. These are people just like us that are down on their luck. Talk to them and ask them if there is anything they need. It may be something that you have laying around that would make their life more comfortable.

God Bless each of you for your care to others.

By joan pecsek [88]02/20/2009

Here's something I learned from my brother: most fast food places won't let homeless people in. They say it will make the place "undesirable". He buys them food and takes it out to them.

By joan pecsek [88]02/20/2009

Here's something I learned from my brother: most fast food places won't let homeless people in. They say it will make the place "undesirable". He buys them food and takes it out to them.

By Heather Krucker [10]02/20/2009

My sister-in-law told me that she has a friend who buys $5.00 gift cards at McDonald's and passes those out.

By Viki02/20/2009

Now that I can see thru my tears, I've got to tell you that is a wonderful idea. I NEVER even thought about that. I also crochet and still have some of my "first" project afghans. Some are pretty strange colors and I still didn't have my stitches "just right", but I'm thinking now that "someone" might just like to have them. Thank you again and God Bless you.

By Robyn Fed [388]02/20/2009

I never thought about being prepared for them ahead of time, how thoughtful and wonderful....you are a blessing to have thought of that!
The veteran lunch story was beautiful. It is truly the little thoughtful things that mean so much to others....and are remembered and cherished a whole lifetime....

Robyn

By Julie [49]02/20/2009

even in small country towns you have homeless people. if you often see someone walking the town or bypasses you can be sure they are homeless. one of our towns homeless is a man who lives in the goverment land in the woods off the bypass living under a tarp he moves to differant spots, one did live in a broken down car on an off unsed road until they found her passed away inside it, which she lived in for 5 years and would walk to town asking for any type job to seek employment but no one ever gave her one. another man wrote poems and sold them so he could get money. our walmart has a stop sign where the homeless or unemployed and down on there luck stand with signs asking for help. Look at these people and do not pass them by without seeing how you can help them even if only one time that you do so, for you could be the last person who saw them when you could of helped in some small way. most of them are prideful and do not take all that you offer them. please do not rush to judgement and think they are just lazy and could get goverment aid if they wanted, they all have differant reasons as to why they are there for that moment in time that you see them. My husband carrys work gloves in his truck due to the greasy work he does that were $1 each and when we saw a man so cold standing at walmart we gave him money and gloves and he was more thankful to get the gloves than the money. think of that if you see them as well for often times they are in the bitter cold or hot sun and a hat , scarf , broken umbrella you might think of tossing, ragged blanket, or used baby bottles, will make there day better for them and these items do not have to be new. before you take things to goodwill keep those homeless in mind and keep those items in your car to be able to hand out if need be. most stores or restaraunts will not let them in without purchase. but our burger king lets this one man a veteran without a leg that is homeless come by the drive thru window each morning for a free item of whatever the speacial is for the week. he could come inside but does not want too so comes to the drive thru window instead. It could be you or me in a moments notice that has no shelter, food, or warm clothing, so picture yourself or your child in that same spot as you see them and give or do anything you can to help them for that one moment in time you may not have again to do so. and thank you to the poster who submitted this subject. I think your idea is a wonderful one. God Bless You

By Marjorie C. Woodworth [82]02/20/2009

My husband is a Vietnam Veteran and he has many veteran buddies. They correspond with each other through email. Here's a story he received just the other day. I hope you enjoy it.

The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read and perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan .'

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base '

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'

'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. 'This is yours with thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Aircraft Pilot coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, 'I want to shake your hand.'

Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to his country for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people who no longer understand it.

May God give you the strength and courage to pass this along to everyone on your email buddy list.







By Cheryl [1]02/20/2009

This is a great idea. My kids and I feed the homeless alot. The snack bag is something my youngest daughter and I can make together and pass out. Thanks for the idea!

By CRYSTAL [15]02/20/2009

this is such a thoughtfull and self-less act and I am sure they will appreciate the concern.

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