Ten reasons why feeding homeless people on the street is the wrong approach:
- It’s our community and we all share our space – We have zoning laws, code enforcement, and city planning for a reason. Some spaces are best for certain activities. The beach, downtown, and other places are not conducive for feeding the homeless.
- When we eat, nature calls – Feeding people then not having a clean and convenient place for them to use bathroom facilities will lead to impromptu use of public space as a toilet.
- People attending a meal should sanitize before eating. Your mother taught you better…wash your hands before you eat.
- Food handlers should be trained an properly dressed – Gloves, hats, hairnets, long sleeve coats and pants, closed shoes, and many other OSHA and health department regulations that professional soup kitchens can provide. You can’t do this on the street. And yes, it matters.
- Food needs to be hot or cold. Steam tables, refrigeration, salad bars with sneeze guards are all to protect the quality of the food being served. You can’t do this on the street consistently. And many homeless are already immune compromised, they don’t need the extra bacteria/germs.
- The homeless on the street need more than food. There are a lot of services including health, mental health counseling, bathroom, showers, food stamps, job placement, housing, drug and alcohol counseling, and much more. Let’s get these people to visit the proper facilities to be helped so we can END their struggles long term.
- The vast majority of people who struggle with hunger issues are not homeless on the street. Many people who can’t make it on their paycheck (working poor), social security, disability payment, etc. need some assistance beyond food. The issue is bigger than bringing food to the street corner.
- Donate your food, time, passion, and money to the professionals in a facility that is ready serve. There are dozens of charities that serve this population. They work together with all the agencies and cities to help solve a person’s individual needs. Again, hunger is only one immediate issue. To all the commenters on all the websites….put your money, time or efforts where your mouth is.
- Being a charitable “vigilante” doesn’t work. It has never worked long term in crime fighting, nonprofit, or business. It’s great for sound bites, publicity, and getting you in the spotlight. But this is not about the vigilante….it is about helping people solve their issues. Stop making it about “you”. Take the damn S off your chest and join the army of folks dedicated to helping those less fortunate.
- If you can’t see the logic or feel anyone should be able to feed the hungry and homeless wherever they want. Great….soup kitchen in your living room tomorrow. Be ready for much more than handing out food. Get your bathrooms ready for showers and heavy usage, bring in a mental health counselor, have children services at the ready, get some medical personal and supplies, have law enforcement present (things sometimes get unruly), and hopefully you have some assistance and places to send people when you face the front lines of poverty, because it is not easy, and there are no easy answers.
Andy Cagnetta owns and operates Transworld Business Advisors www.tworld.com. He joined the company as a sales associate and later purchased it. Transworld is an international franchise business and franchise brokerage, with thousands of businesses for sale and franchisees in the United States and Internationally.
Andy is a well known philanthropist, giving back to many causes. He has run an annual dinner www.andyspastadinner.com to help feed the hungry of Broward County for 13 years.