NEW FEATURE: VOTE & EARN NEATOPOINTS!
Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!


Replate: Share Your Leftovers with the Homeless

"Replate" is an idea out of San Francisco (where else?) about how people should put their unwanted leftover doggie bag on top of trash cans so the homeless can eat them.

http://www.replate.org/ - Thanks zwmyers!

Do you think it's a good idea to share with the less fortunate? Or do you think it will just encourage more homeless to come to San Francisco?


I leave my leftovers on top of the bins all the time, i think it's a great idea, i never know if any homeless person actually eats them but it's nice knowing i left it there just in case!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Homeless folks in SF can be fierce when it comes to leftovers. I think they it's because they come across plenty and from really good restaurants at that. I've offered an untouched plate of Thai food to a homeless man with a "hungry" sign and he wouldn't take it unless there was meat in it. I explained the noodles were good and he just said, "Umf - alright, give it here". No thank you - it was like he did me a favor or something. Hilarious.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I support anything that draws all of the homeless people to California. Then we can just set off a massive earthquake on the San Andreas, splinter CA into the Pacific, and they'll be trapped with the consequences of their 'good intentions'. It'll be like Australia, except with homeless people and illegal aliens instead of criminals.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Or is assuming that homeless people as a class will eat just about anything you've already rejected or left behind freaking insulting?

And, are many of these comments (@bean) so full of hate and vitriol that the authors are clearly currently writing our nation's economic and social policies?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Whenever I can afford it I stop to ask a homeless person if they have eaten yet. They always say they are hungry, so I buy them a meal. If asked for spare change, I offer to buy them what they need, a meal, cigarettes, or whatever they need that I can afford. I do not give them cash for fear that they will buy drugs or liquor. I do not like the idea of giving them cast off food, it is demeaning. Many people in Hawaii are homeless because of the high cost of housing here. Many of our homeless have jobs that do not pay enough to pay rent. I make less than $20,000 a year, so there, but for the grace of God, go I.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I don't personally believe food is lacking in large cities, even for homeless people. While I was living in New York City, I noticed quite a few times that homeless people would get food from delis at closing time (Mama Joy's on Broadway gave away entire subs - quasi fresh ones, that is, that would normally run for 5$). Plus, just think of all the food thrown away by restauranteurs and what not.

I like the idea, though. That way homeless people won't have to dig through the trash. Guess that saves some of their dignity.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I've actually done that before myself. It's better than giving them money they may or may not spend on food.

I never thought of putting it on top of trash cans though, they are usually hanging around so I just give it to them.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I'm probably being ignorant because I don't know much about the homeless population of San Francisco, but are they sure it will be eaten or discarded by the city fast enough so people aren't getting sick off spoiled food? I don't know much about eating food out of the trash, but in the dumpsters, it's not being advocated by a certain group - it's just something the homeless do. Is this going to cause people to start the blame game when people get sick? Now they can point a finger somewhere.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I'm not sure about this practice. Just think of the birds (seagulls in particular) that would come over and pick at the food. Then there is the possibility of the food rotting and spreading illness. Not a good practice if you want my opinion. It is better to help the homeless get out of their situation and not enable them to stay that way. Teach a man to care for himself and you have the answer. Feed him and you don't enable him to improve his position in life.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Its insulting. Offer them a new meal not your table scraps

I cant speak for other cities but in Denver you have to try really hard to go a day without a real meal. If you are eating out of the garbage it is because you are not very smart or have some sort of mental problem.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
SenorMysterioso
July 2nd, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Its insulting. Offer them a new meal not your table scraps

Seriously???? So, starving and having no food is better than the indignity of having to eat someone's castaways? Absolutely ridiculous.

I ALWAYS do this, and I don't even live in that big of a city. Someone will want it, someone will take it, and it keeps my amount of waste down. I'll even go so far as to have leftover restaurant meals bagged up, and will it behind.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I live in Phoenix. It's supposed to reach 112 degrees today. If I left food out I gotta believe it would be inedible in a matter of minutes. Probably why our homeless population wanes so much in the summer, they are eating well in SFO!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I would be afraid that some person with a "let's get rid of the homeless" attitude might leave something spoiled... or worse. The intentions behind this idea are good; unfortunately, the intentions of some of the people who latch onto the idea might not be as admirable.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I've often done this. It can be taken or not, since most restaurants emblazon their name on the side there's little question of what's in there.

To those that refuse money: do you drink? So what's it matter if they do?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
JERRY: Your hands were in the dough?

KRAMER: No, I didn't make these bagels. (Jerry and George both take a bite) Yeah, they're day-olds. The homeless won't even touch them. (Jerry and George stop eating) Oh, we try to fool them by putting a few fresh ones on top, but they dig.. they, they test.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I think feeding the homeless or giving them money is stupid and not helpful, it keeps them on the streets and isn't the whole point to get them off? Doesn't make sense to me...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I guess it depends on city by city if this will work. However, I find it demeaning to hand my eaten leftovers to the homeless. When I frequent Toronto I would see some folks asking for money and what not...but I will not hand them my change because I fear that I'm not helping them as they could easily use that for drugs or alcohol.

I will ask them if they have eaten lately and if not I'll go and buy them a burger with fries and a drink and give that to them. Some of them will thank me profusely while other grudgingly. Depends on the person I suppose. The olders folks are usually the happiest when I do this I guess because they're old hands and rarely get a second look by people walking by.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
when i go out to eat i don't buy more than i'll eat, so i don't have leftovers. On the occasion that i do i take it home and eat it later. I can't understand having enough left that you'd be able to feed someone else.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
These comments are so weird. It's not like the homeless are a species of incapable animals that need certain protections or cruel extermination. Most homeless people can look at food and determine if it's edible to them. And if they don't want to eat leftover scraps no one is making them..so it's not demeaning. Please.

And them buying alcohol or drugs with spare change..WHO CARES!? I bet most people who are against giving change for that reason are also against the drug war but when it comes to the homeless? No, of course they don't deserve to get inebriated to temporarily escape their current situation. The moral police need to calm down about the homeless, they're not a population to control or guide just because they're extremely poor.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Peeves,

The difference is that many of the homeless have severe mental problems and drugs and alcohol exacerbate that problem. For instance, a drunk homeless man recently exposed himself to my girlfriend and she is still pretty shook up about it. Homeless are a real problem in this country, so yes, sometimes they need guidance.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I work at a Shelter in Seattle. Leaving food extras isn't as demeaning as it sounds to some people. Most cities have enough emergency feed sites that if someone has been in a city long enough, they know how to get food they need. However, it isn't as though the local Salvation Army is making special vegetarian or allergen-free meals. No, you get crud food with very little nutritional value. So yeah, something left over can be a real change from the white bread and processed cheese lunches that most homeless folks have to deal with.

Also, the idea that cities that offer good services for *fellow humans* are just asking for more homeless people to come and take advantage, that's called the 'magnet theory' and it's archaic. Although this almost always falls on deaf ears: Please, any body who just made a snarky or ill-informed comment about the homeless here, please, do you best to volunteer (not just once!) at a shelter, or take the time to get to know several people experiencing homeless. They're not all the same, they're not all amoral druggies, and usually they're some of the kindest,most unique folks you'll ever meet. I sure like 'em better than housed jerks.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Meh. This is such a gray area it is almost not worth talking about. You could have strong opinions on either side and be correct.
On one hand, why not be humanitarian and instantly give them food or money?
On the other hand, is it not humanitarian to guide them to the proper services which may help them rebuild their life?
I'm not saying that such concepts are mutually exclusive either. However, I can see how the second crowd would feel that the first crowd, um... I won't say discourages, but let's say doesn't guide the homeless toward the second crowd's option.
Given a story like this: http://www.neatorama.com/2008/02/22/testing-the-american-dream-the-homeless-experiment/

I am prone to say that perhaps we should encourage that behavior instead of simply satisfying an immediate desire. (But feed them while you're educating them about the experience.)
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Anon:

Obviously it's beneficial to have resources available for the homeless. However, can you imagine how insulting it is to be told that others know what is best for you? Sometimes it's a hospital bill when your family couldn't afford insurance, sometimes it's a history of abuse that makes you leave your home. Giving Spare Change is up to the individual, but don't just sit there and not do anything at all. You have an opinion? *DO* something about it.

The article you link to encourages a fallacy: That anybody can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live the American Dream. That kid has youth, health, and strength to help him succeed. He also *planned* it. Believe me, when somebody becomes homeless, there's a whole lot that can happen that isn't planned and can't be overcome with a wink and a grin.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I have done this for YEARS and in many states and multiple countries! Only because I have seen homeless dig food out of trash cans. So if it was being thrown away anyways, why not leave it where (if wanted) it can be gotten with less trash on it. I used to just ask them if they wanted it, when I was asked for change. Then after being told "Why would I want your trash" I moved to leaving it where one who wanted it could find it. I look at it like putting the old sofa by the curb. And I know I have picked up things from the curb, what about YOU. And in university I would go to the bakery and ask for day old bread. They would give me a bag for free. Now they will charge you for the old bread, just at a lower price...

So point is if it is left there one who wants it can take it (easy) and if not wanted it will eventually just get pitched in the bin.

Or someone could start a service to pickup all the leftovers from restaurants and feed anyone who wants it. I know some missions already do similar for their food programs. Americans throw out more food daily than some countries get to eat...Just look around at what people leave on their plats or pitch in the bins.

Keep your mind open!!
The PhreeThinker
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I think it’s a good idea to share with the less fortunate. But restaurant food? That stuff is expensive! I can't believe so many of y'all throw leftovers away instead of taking them home!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
this is nothing new. and we also do it with recyclables. if i have a can/bottle and there isn't a recycle bin around i will stick it on top of the garbage so the homeless doesn't have to dig through the trash to find it to recycle.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Homeless people are idiots if they remain homeless longer than 5 years. There is no reason to help these people out. The survival mechanism will kick in and they will either pull themselves out of homelessness or they will die. Being homeless in the world's largest economy is the ultimate form of stupidity, mental illness, and personal irresponsibility rolled all into one.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I hope everyone who is saying this is insulting, or says this isn't enough, or says you should buy them a full meal, or that there's "no shortage of food in cities", I hope you all give plenty of time and effort and food to the homeless.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
To the person who said that we should volunteer at the homeless shelter...what is it that you want us to do?

Serve food? Clean up after the homeless eat?

Here's an idea for you: How about the homeless who are eating the free food and sleeping for free, take turns to serve and clean up after each other. We have our own families to serve and clean up after....and that's after working all day.

No one deserves to sit on their butt collecting free food and pity, while productive citizens wait on them hand and foot and clean up after them.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I was doing that before they came up with a name for it. Lord knows I don't like to give them money. I usually just hold leftovers out in front of me on the way home, I give them to the first tramp that says, "hey, you gonna eat dat whole thing?" Usually happens after I cover about fifty feet.

Restaurants aren't always dumping mountains of food in the dumpster, though, I cook and honestly in our kitchen we're pretty conservative.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It's a good idea but I bet most of the time the food just gets thrown in the trash because, well people think it's trash that didn't quite make it into the bin
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I would be concerned about the safety/sanitation of the food. I don't know how long uneaten food would remain on top of a trashcan. I immediately thought of what it would be like here in Texas, where it's unreasonably hot six months out of the year. I'm sure the milder climates in SF are more amenable to this kind of thing.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It could be a great boost for the "Got sick eating what you left me and will sue the pants off you" industry. That's one of the reasons restaurants don't *give* their leftovers, they throw them and it's up to you to eat them or not.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It seems to me, here in the Home of the Homeless, that almost 100% of the homeless people are mentally ill and/or seriously impaired substance abusers. These people simply aren't going to snap out of it when they get sick of rummaging through garbage cans. Eating anonymous leftovers isn't much more dignified than digging through the garbage cans, bus possibly a bit more sanitary. And if the the food would otherwise go to waste, why not?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Alls I'm saying is, when I lived in SF I did this all he time and the food was ALWAYS gone within seconds.
If somebody wants to eat my leftovers, I'm not making them dig through garbage.
Once, a young lady was begging for change from me on Haight St. I asked what she needed, then she told me her story. I said I had some really good leftovers in my car and a blanket I was going to donate anyway. She thanked me profusely, as most of her stuff had been stolen the day before.
Almost everyone I knew did the replating thing in SF. It just seemed stupid not to do it, considering the number of people I had to literally step over to get from my car to my apartment.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I think NC Gal might take the prize here for the "Most Ill-Informed." Before you go out of your way to make more comments like that, NC, you should get to know a little more about homelessness. There is a tiny percentage (truly tiny) of the homeless population that chooses that lifestyle, but otherwise homelessness is nearly always associated with some form of mental illness, addiction, abuse, or some combination of the three. So instead of complaining about your lot, you should feel blessed that you have the ability to work, and a family to share your life with.

The fact is, few long-term services provided for the homeless are "free" -- they often pay some small amount for food or housing, or contribute through work, just as you described, and that obligation to pay generally increases with their ability to do so. I honestly don't think you could find a homeless person being "waited on hand and foot" if you tried.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Around here, we get both kinds. There are a couple of homeless guys that hang around the pizzeria that I used to work at.

One never asked for a thing, and always thanked people for the things they volunteered. He was pretty cool. He had a bag full of books and pictures of fat people.

The other guy hit everyone up for money, making up stories about having to feed kids that didn't exist, or needing three dollars to catch the bus. No matter what you gave him, he always asked if you could spare more for something or another. He would also hang out behind the store and smoke crack. We called the police on him several times, because people didn't want pizza if he was there. Regular customers would slow down, as if they were going to pull in, and then just keep driving if they saw him.

The first man was a veteran who was legitimately schizophrenic, and one of the nicest people I've ever met, while the second one was often violent with strangers and police just to get arrested and sleep it off in jail.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
what a great idea. Now you don't need to help the less fortunate using your time or money. With your leftovers you can feel a better person. A real, contemporary Altruist
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
you should ALWAYS help those less fortunate, regardless of whether they're homeless or not. it's good karma. to answer your question, alex, no i don't think it would encourage those homeless to flock to SF. as lots already mentioned, most of the homeless population is stricken with mental illness, so they most likely would not even think to migrate to a different city. how would they get there anyway, without walking or hitchhiking? it definitely wouldn't enourage anyone to BECOME homeless (why would anyone want to be homeless?), so i doubt by doing this the homeless population would increase.

i always feel bad for throwing away my leftovers, and for not volunteering for anything, so i think this would illeviate some guilt. there aren't any homeless where i live because all the suburbanites chased them away, but if i lived in the proper social arena, i would definitely put my leftovers on top of trashcans. we waste too much in the world, and we especially waste too much (and not just food) here in the US. and we're stingy as hell, too. it's great that everyone claims an individual mentality because they can stand their own ground, but when it comes time to steer away from individual gratification, the group mentality is all wrong. there ARE people who can't find a job and make it for themselves, and those who can't grasp this are the ones saying the homeless can solve their own damn problem.

i think every little bit helps. even just an attitude adjustment about the situation helps because as long as people are THINKING about the problem, the group mentality will shift towards a more positive outlook, which will then bring forth new volunteers and more help, which will lead to a smaller homeless population. those of you who are being complete d*cks about this are only contributing to the problem. thanks.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Ok, I agree with this article but will not go into to much detail other than I've been homeless twice. I was lucky enough to have shelter at the Salvation Army and was fed very well there.
Sid Morrison and I had it out over the feedings in Orlando Florida. So if you want to see both sides of the issue look for that post.
Other than that, those of you who feel homeless are a "different species" need your asses dropped off the nearest cliff.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It's insulting to think they would eat leftovers? They sleep on the streets in clothes saturated with dirt and grease, dig through garbage bins for recyclables and anything else of value, tote their worldly possessions around in tattered garbage bags, and generally spend most of their day coping with a debilitating mental illness... feeling insulted about 10 minute old leftovers is the least of their worries.

The garbage bin just outside of the Subway in Embarcadero was very popular for scavenging for the homeless. I would see them pick meat and veggies from leftover subs pretty much every time I passed through.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I believe its a good idea! You have critics for everything.. But this is a gud way to make them feel that some one cares for them
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
i would personally feel awful leaving someone who is hungry my half-eaten food. i would rather give them homemade sandwiches. but apparently it's not legal to do that anymore, not where i am, because the government can't monitor the quality of the food i produce like they would in a professional kitchen. i know. WTF. but it's okay to feed people garbage? it's bad enough that most of the homeless are mentally ill people we toss out on the street, but we can't even do something nice for them
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It's not insulting to leave food in a place where people can decide whether or not to take it. How is that insulting? Would you also refuse to donate used clothing? Do you insist on buying fresh new shirts for your homeless friends? Nonsense.

Nobody has to eat anything they don't want to. Leaving food instead of tossing it is a basically neutral act; i.e., it can't hurt. And if someone's hungry and wants it, then it helps.

And as for the question of whether encouraging "replating" will draw more homeless people to SF, well, that's just silly. Nobody relocates for half a carton of chicken fried rice.

Then again...mmm, chicken fried rice.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@ Lloyd:

"Being homeless in the world’s largest economy is the ultimate form of stupidity, mental illness, and personal irresponsibility rolled all into one."

If this was being graded, you'd get a 33%. Fail. Homeless people aren't stupid. And it doesn't necessarily have to do with being irresponsible. Mental illness is a HUGE component, but it's unfortunately overlooked by so many people (including many on this thread). It's REAL, people. Just like any other disease. Nobody would dream of telling someone they were stupid, irresponsible, and homeless because they had cancer or a physical birth defect. So why is it all right to say that about people with mental illnesses?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I am a lead server in a higher end restaurant. Our portions are very large, in fact by healthy diet standards each one of our dinner portions are equal to two meals and our lunch portions are equal to one and a half meals.

At the end of every meal I serve, if the guests haven't finished I offer to box the food, I can't tell you how many times my guests say they don't want to box up the food and I have to throw away more than half of their entree. At the end of each day, because of certain health codes, we through out enough perfectly good food to serve around 40-50 people. I can't believe it! Every time I look at all the food we through away I think about how much someone else could use that meal.

The issue here is not so much giving leftover food to people its changing our concept of consumption. Its asking the haves to challenge their thinking to step outside of themselves and consider the have nots. It's realistically changing our individual amount of consumption and waste so that we impact all of creation (humanity, animals and the ecosystem) for the good.

People come out to my restaurant, drop $30-40 a plate, throw away half the food and leave... oh how I would like to change that! Think about how things would change if we, the servers, challenged our guests to give their leftover meals to the guy on the street begging for money. Look at our world...oh, how that could be an element of helpful change?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
speaking as someone who lives in San Francisco, many of the homeless people, especially those on the street are on the street because of drug or alcohol abuse. There are plenty of services available to help someone who genuinely wants to improve their standing. But speaking as a person who used to give food, most often it's unwanted. I stopped even trying when I was assaulted when I offered to share my baugette with a homeless person at a bus stop. it wasn't the first time my food was rejected, just the first time someone actually attacked me. I do still volunteer at shelters, but as far as panhandlers on the street, I've lost my sympathy.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@Adam Stanhope: Or do you think it will just encourage more homeless to come to San Francisco?

I can’t believe that you actually said that, Alex.


I used to work in San Francisco, so I'm familiar with the city's very tolerant policies toward the homeless (well, maybe "was familiar" is more like it - this was some years ago, so unless Mayor Gavin changed the ways of the City ...)

Anyways, San Francisco is the only city I know of that doles out monthly checks to the homeless after only a short period of time of "residency." A few years ago, the City got a black eye when someone discovered that they spend $40K per homeless person in services.

$40,000!

If they had just given that money to the homeless, I'm sure a lot of them wouldn't be homeless anymore!

The word on the street was that other cities in the US actually give one-way bus fares to their homeless people to go to San Francisco...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
This is insane. Not only are you purposely exposing someone who is already having a tough time but there is a potential for serial poisoning of masses of homeless people.
I can't believe anyone would advocate this.
What planet are all you people from?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It was the do-gooders that had these bums turned out of the mental hospitals where they could be taken care of.

Now they're living on their own, on the street. Eating out of garbage cans, sleeping in boxes. How humane is that?

How about this, if you're so concerned, why don't you invite a bunch of these stinking nutjobs to move in with you and take care of them.

At least leaving the food out keeps them from digging through a trashcan and contaminating the garbage.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Every single homeless bum is a psycho nutjob that originated from nuthouse of abuse? I did not know that. Full of knowledge you are, sir!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@Leon: Just a quick correction: I don't know that I would classify Ronald Reagan as a 'do-gooder,' but it was definitely his presidential policies that forced mentally-ill homeless onto the streets.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I like the idea of replating leftovers, but I'm concerned that keeping them along with other trash might cause poisoning. I wish there were some separate drop boxes for leftovers next to at least some trash bins (like there are separate recycle bins). I know it will cost a lot to the city, but just a thought.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
all Chicago alleys have many dumpsters (and they all have lids!)... i thought i was the only one that left food (usally something from my fridge that wasn't bad yet, but that i didn't want)... i just hope that someone finds it before it goes bad (and since much of Chicago's weather is NOT that warm... that works)... just hope the rats don't come runnin' for it first!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 69 comments




Email This Post to a Friend
"Replate: Share Your Leftovers with the Homeless"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More