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Should Unwanted Food Be Left For The Homeless?

Here in San Francisco, a new organization is proposing a movement to cut back on the amount of food waste. is asking citizens of the city to leave unwanted food, leftovers, and doggy bags in plain site on top of trash cans, allowing the homeless and hungry access to the food. I think this is a great idea, as it reduces food waste and human hunger, but wonder how the homeless will be educated on the concept. What do you guys think? Should unwanted food be left for the homeless?

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beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i do this sometimes. if there's a real problem the garbage can is right there. there are a lot of homeless people who would take food from the top of a garbage within minutes, so i don't know how much of a germ issue there is..besides, how many germs do you think are on the food inside the garbage cans?
zc zc 9 years
i think it should..but where would one drop it off..its not practical to drive around with leftovers til you come acrossa homeless person. the amount of food hat gets wasted in resturants can feed a fortune of people-rather let them eat it than let it rot
pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
Im not so keen on the trash can idea for some reason. Whenever I have a doggie bag I just hand it to the first homeless person I see. There's usually a lot. A friend of mine used to work at Starbucks and I cant remember exactly how the story went, but they used to put out their leftovers. Then the town banned them from doing it because people were complaining the homeless people were loitering there to pounce at the end of the day. My friend was pretty sad about it, but it meant she got to bring back a lot of food every day, and we made sure it didnt go to waste!
sigmaration sigmaration 9 years
I live in SF and have been giving my leftovers to the homeless for years. I'm not going to eat it, and the restaurant is just going to throw it out. I try to hand it to someone directly (and usually ask if they have allergies if it contains shellfish or other commin allergies) if I can. But if there aren't any homeless people around at the moment, then I will leave it, fully wrapped, on top of a trash can. The food is likely to get eaten, but even if it doesn't, it won't rot there. Public trashcans in SF are emptied every day, and they always take whatever is on top of or next to the can, too. Perhaps in less populated areas it would be a problem, but not here.
crispet1 crispet1 9 years
This is a very interesting debate. Its true that we dont want to clutter our busy streets with food perched above trash cans, etc. And we dont want to attract more rodents than necessary. I guess there are still more discussion that need to take place to make food increasingly available to the homeless.
Hautie Hautie 9 years
"Sounds like a good idea, but I think unwanted food should be brought to a shelter." Exactly. There is already a horrible issue with trash in the city streets. Plus what will end up happening is some kid will knock it off to the ground... just to make a mess. There are so many other ways to make small donations that are better organized than just leaving food scattered all over town, on top of trash cans.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 9 years
Yes and no. I just have this bad feeling, after seeing Owen Wilson's movie about a serial killer who poisons other. What if someone actually decided to do that? Or someone will good intention accidentally gives a homeless person(s) contaminated leftovers? Simply put, I kind of agree with brookesummer. I'm just feeling paranoid. LOL. After setting that aside, I think it's a nice idea to "recycle" food. But I hardly ever have any leftover at home (I have 2 big boys), I'd probably give them a doggie bag from a restaurant if I decided to share leftovers.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I've always loved hearing how some restaurants donate their food at the end of the day to the homeless ... this should be a more widespread practice!!
Daisie Daisie 9 years
I think it's a good idea. I was in San Francisco for the first time last month. All the sites I visited let me know there would be a ton a homeless. And there were. If there are homeless in my area and they ask for money, I usually go buy them a meal and bring it back to them. My parents have always done that so that they won't use the money for alcohol or drugs. We don't have that many homeless where I live. This isn't something that would work in all areas but in SanFran I think it would. I know that when I was there I couldn't finish my meal and they wrapped it in a box for me and as we walked out of the restaurant a homeless man said something about the food and I just handed it to him. Rather he eat than I have cold leftovers for a snack in my hotel room, right?
brookesummer brookesummer 9 years
In a perfect world, this would be a great idea. However, in a perfect world people probably wouldn't be homeless either. Unfortunately we live in a world where the homeless are beaten just for being homeless. Teenagers have killed homeless men not too long ago, and this might open up another avenue to harm the homeless. They are targets already to heartless teenage boys who think that it's cool to beat on someone. This would make it even easier to hurt them - just put some poison, or even laxatives, or hot sauce in the food and watch them react. I've worked with the homeless quite a bit, and it's always a good thing to give back to the community, even in smaller ways such as a meal for one person. But to give people who want to do harm more ways to do so is never a good idea.
sylvette sylvette 9 years
I live in Berkeley, and do this all the time. When you see people digging for food, it puts things in perspective.
saffy1227 saffy1227 9 years
If it was between food and no food, I would say yes, but I don't get the on top of the trash can thing. Why on top of the trash cans? And there will probably be problems concerning what kinds of food that are appropriate, you don't want to give them leftover parts of the pizza that has bite marks all over them, they are still human you know. And what if the giver has some kind of disease? I think they need to think over this "new movement".
figurine figurine 9 years
Ultimately, I'd have to say yes.
acaladoobie acaladoobie 9 years
It's inevitable that asshole people out there will purposely put something bad in the food and leave it for homeless people. They're the same people that created/enjoyed that horrible Bum Fights video. It makes me sick to think about how horrible some people are.
mellie_608 mellie_608 9 years
on a side note, this makes me remember the many, many times I would go out to the dumpster behind work, where I would find people all the time "dumpster diving" as people call it. I even one day saw someone I had just helped in the store with their bag with them, in the dumpster afterward. Just goes to show the desperation people feel to find edible food, even if they can afford to buy a little, it may not be enough.
mellie_608 mellie_608 9 years
Giving leftovers to a shelter on a one on one basis won't work. Most shelters, including the one that I've volunteered at, have strict rules about where food can come from. Restaurants, churches, and other events where food is prepared by people with food handler's permits is usually accepted graciously. Having worked with the homeless in my town, many homeless are just too "proud" to go to the shelter, that they scavage. I see the sanitary points and those that worry about birds and animals. But I imagine much of the food will be found by someone if it is left in an area populated by the homeless. I worked in an area where the homeless slept right outside the door to my work. While it was tough to deal with the bad side of homelessness, like theft and violence, I can assure you that they would have no problem taking the food that you left for them, because they ARE truely hungry. It's hard to imagine this as we sit and eat "3 square meals" a day, but they don't care about the germs or the bugs, they just want to eat.
Julie2812 Julie2812 9 years
It'a good idea but not the'd be better for them to have untouched food lime somebody else said. They can go to shelters where they will have a nice meal. But it's not such a bad idea!
em1282 em1282 9 years
Knowing where I live, if they did this, the birds would beat the homeless people to it. Ecccch. It's a great idea, but seriously, there should be other ways to help. For example, in my city they're doing the next Batman movie right by my work. One of the security guards I talk to on a regular basis comes in at 5 AM (when the shooting stops), and he says that they throw away so many boxed lunches that probably could be given to a shelter. If the food at least went to a shelter that same day, there would probably be less food poisoning/spoilage, and no bugs/birds would get to the food. It's a shame how much food is wasted...
mdbzmom mdbzmom 9 years
I don't think residences should do it but restaurants and grocery stores should be required to. I try not to waste food and still manage to throw out leftovers with a guilty conscience but the amount I throw out compared to food establishments is a big difference. I've worked in a restaurant that over prepared for functions and would then throw out what was left. I always thought they should at least offer it to staff so it wouldn't be so blatantly wasted.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
As a lot of people have mentioned, truly homeless people eat whatever they can find - out of garbage cans, off the street, whatever. If leaving the stuff in plain view and OUT of the garbage helps them out a little, why not? As far as enabling them by doing this, I can understand your point. We have a very big problem with panhandlers in minneapolis. But these people - the ones out asking for change - aren't even homeless - they make a pretty penny off the people who give them change. However, I these people also don't pick their food out of garbage cans - they take the money they get and pick up a bag of double cheesburgers and a crack rock. The only problem I really see with this is the sick people taking advantage of the situation and purposefully making the homeless who pick up the food sick.
Kostika Kostika 9 years
Ewww...This would make them sick fast. They never know how long it's been sitting there or f it should ahve even been left out. If you want to help then give food to shelters. If you want to cut down on food wastage, then don't waste food. Make less. Don't throw food away. Eat your leftovers.
rubialala rubialala 9 years
I think there is something with this idea in New York where this company (I can't remember the name of it to save my life), and the go around to all of the restaurants and pick up their extra food and take it to the homeless shelters. I think this is a better idea than leaving your leftovers on top of the garbage to rot and spoil.
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 9 years
CiaoBella -- I've had the same experience.
CiaoBella2 CiaoBella2 9 years
Sounds like a good idea, but I think unwanted food should be brought to a shelter. There have been times when I've given a doggie bag to a homeless person, but most of those times they want money not food.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I think so. I feel terrible seeing food go to waste. If someone is economically challenged and unable to afford food, then why not pass on food that other people won't eat to them?
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