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Doggie bags,

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Have you ever given food to a panhandler on the street who was asking for money to buy food? How did it go? I've given some leftovers but I've never bought something just to give to the guy out on the street. I'm never sure what's the right thing to do.

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  1. Once in Amsterdam I tried to give left overs to a man asking for money to buy food (said I don't have money but would you like my fries). The man got angry yelled "I don't want food, I want money for drugs". In Bmore there was a guy who hung around D&Ds. People would give him change or bags of food. In Accra I gave some kids parts of a coconut because as I went to throw them out the bus window they asked for them.

    1. Years ago in Philadelphia a homeless person near the train station was asking for money, and when I gave it to him he asked me if I'd buy him a meal for him at the Mcdonald's inside the station instead, because the staff there wouldn't let him inside. I gladly bought him a meal. But giving homeless people leftovers, probably not. I think that would be too insulting.

      1. There is a good column and discussion of it here, in a Table Manners column from a good while ago....http://www.chow.com/stories/10736

        1 Reply
        1. re: originalfig

          I once went to New Orleans for a wedding. A guy on Bourbon street asked me for a couple of bucks to get some whisky. I said How do I know you won't spend this on gumbo?

          I will offer doggie bag unless its like Peter Luger or something like that. Sometimes accepted, sometimes refused. I guess it had to do with level of hunger.
          I remember my father taking panhandler to the automat, sitting him down and buying a meal for him. He just walked away from his full tray.

        2. I used to work in a hospital, and there were a lot of less fortunate folks who hung out in the area. I often gave half my lunch sandwich away, and it was always gratefully accepted. I think because I was splitting a meal, rather than disposing of leftovers, people weren't put off.

          1. Rule of almsgiving: Never give what you yourself would not gladly receive from a complete stranger, and never give in a spirit that shows how good you are.

            1. I've given people food that I've bought for myself... or if I see somebody who looks hungry near a store I'll ask them if they need something to eat and I'll go and buy them something, or preferably take them into the store with me and let them choose for themselves. I don't give people money except under extraordinary circumstances because there's no way to know what they're going to do with it, but if somebody needs food I'm happy to help them out. I don't think I'd hand someone my leftovers though... it's never occurred to me! I'd get them something fresh of their own if possible.

              1. I've done this many times & never thought that I was insulting anyone. I usually do it when I am traveling and don't have a fridge in my hotel to put the food. I remember in Hong Kong my sister & I couldn't finish our entire Peking duck & gave the leftovers to someone on the street. I used to get treated to many high end restaurants in New York and San Francisco & always gave my leftovers to a street person. Only a couple of times has someone given me some lip about it probably because they were disappointed it wasn't booze. If I hadn't eaten in days I would welcome the food.