Social Question

Mtl_zack's avatar

What's the point of giving cans of food to the homeless if they don't have can openers?

Asked by Mtl_zack (6730 points ) October 24th, 2009

Cans are totally useless without can openers, and homeless people can not eat what you donate to them. Also, why do people give mini shampoos from hotels if they have no running water?

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13 Answers

torch81's avatar

Just because someone is homeless, doesn’t mean that they are without ANY possessions at all. The homeless women that I work with are smart enough to carry a can opener IF that were the only way that they were going to have access to food. However, the draw of canned food is that it lasts a long time and does not spoil (at least not for quite a while). It is easier for food pantries to stock food this way.

As to the water – you can find running water in plenty of places. Think public restroom.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Homeless people are resourceful. They are not idiots. If you give them food they’ll find a way to eat it when they are hungry. I know I’ve lost my can opener a few times and found a way to open the food anyhow.

As far as the shampoo goes there are free places to take showers that don’t have shampoo so this also makes sense.

marinelife's avatar

How do you know that they have no can openers? If one doesn’t, knives work. Most homeless carry their belongings in capacious coat pockets or shopping carts or have temporary camps.

Samurai's avatar

Many homeless people have some sort of knife, they could easily open a can, yet some of the cans even come with peal off lids.

hug_of_war's avatar

Homeless doesn’t mean no money whatsoever. Many homeless people have basic supplies like can openers. If you had no other option but canned food, I can garuntee you would find a way to open that can, opener or not.

laureth's avatar

Most can donations that I’ve been familiar with either go to families in poverty but which still have a home (and, presumably, can openers) or to a soup kitchen where they prepare food for homeless folks. Also, the homeless shelter takes donations of shampoo and toiletries, while providing the needy with a place to clean themselves up.

sakura's avatar

I thought the idea was to give cans to the homeless shelters so they could make meals to serve from “soup kitchens?”

dannyc's avatar

They can always borrow one from the one homeless guy who has a can opener in their circle of homeless people. If this really is a problem for your decision to donate, then I might suggest to make sure you provide a lift tab can. As long as the homeless person has fingers your dilemma is solved.

mcbealer's avatar

Many single serving sized cans of soups, vegetables, and fruit now come with a pull back lid.

qualitycontrol's avatar

Doesn’t the food go to a food pantry where it’s cooked in a kitchen and served to the people?

judochop's avatar

Homeless people are some of the most resourceful people on the planet. They reuse everything and sometimes make things from things we would often just throw away. You want a recycling program that works??? Study the homeless. You want to learn how to live with less? Study the homeless. You want to discover people who read 10 books a week and are able to talk about anything? Study the homeless. So to answer your question, a can full of food is hardly a barrier for the hungry. Opener or no opener.

jaytkay's avatar

I work at a community food pantry. We give away a few hundred bags of groceries every week. People can choose “kitchen” or “no-kitchen” bags.

The “no-kitchen” option doesn’t require a can opener, stove, oven or refrigerator. Only pop-top cans are included.

80% of our clients choose the “kitchen” bag. They aren’t well off, but they have a place to stay. And a can opener.

Cheesefoot's avatar

I carry a can opener in my wallet. It’s about the size of a spam pull-tab; some dollar stores have them.
Watch out for that canned food thou, yo! Eat enough of it and your lousy mood’ll make you homeless if you’re not already.

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