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Support the Homeless by Giving Food Gift Cards

by Letitia Leonard
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Homelessness is a problem that faces more than 610,000 Americans on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness, according to information provided by the National Coalition for the Homeless, although the exact number is difficult to determine.

People find themselves homeless for a variety of reasons. Some have physical or mental problems but nobody to help them out. Others have left abusive households. Many once had a place to live but fell upon hard economic times.

The primary cause of homelessness is lack of affordable housing. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States. Simply put, many homeless people want to better themselves and put forth great efforts to do so, but they are up against tough odds.

Regardless of how they became homeless, the fact remains that the homeless can benefit from the kindness of strangers. Many people get annoyed when a homeless person asks for a handout, but everyone needs and deserves to eat. By giving a homeless person a food gift card, you can ensure your contribution is being used to provide a fellow human being with a basic necessity – and a bit of hope that someone in the world cares.

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Admittedly, it is not always easy to decipher whether or not a person who appears homeless is actually a person in need or just a person who hustles for other purposes. To clear your conscious of "What if they don't spend the money on food?” you can go the extra step and buy meal or food certificates to feed the homeless.

Dining establishments such as McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Panera, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Donuts, among others, all sell gift cards, and some are available for just $1. Another option is to purchase gift cards from a supermarket. Some grocery stores offer gift cards for as little as $5.

The next time you patronize a dining establishment or a grocery store or if you are just passing one, stop in and purchase some gift cards in the amount that you can afford. Then, the next time you see a homeless person or a homeless family on the street, hand them a food gift card. A simple meal is a heartfelt gesture that can brighten the day of someone going through a tough time.

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