“Could You Spare Some Change?” How Do You React?

I was heading up to Oregon and made a stop at a fast food restaurant to go to the bathroom and get a drink. As I walked to the door, a young couple sat in the shade on the side of the building. The man caught my eye and asked, “Could you spare some change?”

I have a policy to never give money directly when people ask me for it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to help out. In this instance I asked, “Are you hungry? Would you like some food?”

They both said “yes” and after asking what they would like, I went in and purchased the food that they wanted. It ended up costing about $10 for the two meals I purchased.

While I in no way regretted making the purchase, as I continued my drive I started to think if there could be a better way to provide food for those in need when I travel. I’m finding that I am coming across more and more couples like this as I travel. I began to wonder if there was a way that I could provide more food with better nutrition than a fast food meal if I used some of my acquired couponing skills.

The more I thought about it, the more this seems like a good idea. Not only could I create a small food package to pass out to anyone I happened to come across while I traveled who needed it, the packages would be a good emergency food supply that would be worth having in the car in their own right. The food package would also allow anyone that received it to eat the food when they wanted to and not right away as they had to with the fast food meals.

The problem, of course, would be coming up with a food package that contained fairly healthy food that could also last a fair period of time without going bad and wasn’t overly heavy so that they could easily be taken wherever the people might go. This is a list of the foods I came up with:

Granola bars
Trail mix
Dried fruit / fruit leathers
Apple sauce

Those were the first thoughts that came to my mind although I am sure there are others (feel free to leave comments on quality food I could add to this package that I didn’t list). I think with a bit of patience and keeping an eye out for corresponding coupons, I should be able to create a food package like this for a few dollars. Do you think that a dual purpose food package (emergency food supply and for giving to those that are requesting food) is worthwhile and how would you go about creating something like this?

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6 Responses to “Could You Spare Some Change?” How Do You React?

  1. Bobbi says:

    What a great idea! Good healthy food for people that will stick to the ribs.

  2. pen says:

    those peanut butter crackers are also good. a charity I used to volunteer for frequently handed out those pre-made cake snacks. they are not the most healthy item, but high calorie and cheap.

  3. jo says:

    Great idea! I’m sure most of the time it is McDonald’s food or something. These are much better ideas.

  4. Jaime says:

    You might keep in mind that they might prefer a fastfood meal, to accepting food kept by a stranger. They might be more afraid that you could have poisoned the food you keep with you.

    That said, I think it’s a great idea to keep that on hand as a healthier alternative. You might consider those packets of tuna fish – easy to eat, lean protein and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Also, consider bottled water or sports drinks. Help them down all those dry crackers, granola and nuts.

    You might want to consult with someone who camps or backpacks into wild country, or a store that supplies such people. They’ll be able to help you select lightweight, nutritious foods. Also keep in mind that if someone is living rough, they’ll need foods with carbohydrates and fats to round out their needs.

  5. Gail says:

    Don’t forget bottled water or juice. You never know when you will get caught in a traffic jam due to an accident which leaves you stuck on the road for hours. Having something to drink and be able to share with others would come in very handy.

  6. Melanie says:

    I think that if someone is truly hungry (and not just faking it) they would be truly thankful for such packaged foods as you have mentioned. If somebody was that worried about getting poisoned, then they probably aren’t that hungry. I think it’s a fabulous idea personally! As far as I concerned, it kinda puts me out when I feel like I am obligated to buy fast food for someone else when I can’t really even afford a “hot meal” for me and my family when we travel. But I am very willing to share out of our food stash with others who are hungry. Anyway, that’s just me.

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