Gift Certificate Handouts

Usually when we go out on an Outreach to help the Homeless, we hand out such consumables as bottled water, sandwiches, and other cold foodstuffs. But with cold weather coming on, I’ve been thinking about how to get people hot food, hot beverages, and maybe a warm place to rest, even if for a short while. That’s when I came up with the idea of giving out McDonald’s Gift Certificates (or other certificates of your choice).
The certificates will allow the bearer to buy hot food and hot beverages. They may also rest awhile inside the warmth of the restaurant, as paying customers, so that they won’t need to worry as much about being chased off by the staff.
Some people worry that if they give money to the Homeless that it will be spent on drugs, or alcohol. But with Gift Certificates, this worry is pretty much eliminated. Also it allows the holders not to have to carry food on them like they would if you gave them a sandwich on the street. Sometimes having food on them attracts unwanted attention, or even rodents.
Now I already know McDonald’s fast food isn’t everyone’s meal of choice, but it is a darned sight better than nothing, or maybe even food gotten through dumpster diving.  Calories are needed to survive in cold weather and fat content isn’t a great concern.  The consumption of hot beverages reduces the need for the body to burn calories just to maintain body temperature.
The typical Outreach package I put together runs about $10, this is enough for two complete hot meals at most restaurants.
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The following remarks are from my colleague, Phantom Zero on this subject:
“FYI, just from personal experience, supplies can be cumbersome and heavy–so slips of paper as opposed to lugging a dozen plus bottles of water and sandwiches is more efficient. You can keep them handy for any-time homeless outreach.
However–no guarantee that any establish will let someone who is homeless in, as they may feel its disruptive to business and might drive customers away (regardless of laws or statutes stating otherwise).
BUT a lot of places do allow the homeless to “freecycle” foods which are past their due time (by virtue of standards and practices), but still perfectly good foodstuffs.”

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