- If you have time, offer to take them into a nearby coffee shop or restaurant and buy them something to eat or drink. If they truly are hungry, they’ll be happy to take you up on it. Even if they say no, they will respect you for offering.
- If somewhere to eat isn’t close by but another place is, such as a drug or clothing store, ask if you can get them something from inside. Buying inexpensive items like a pair of socks, a trial-size tube of toothpaste, or even a candy bar or pack of gum fulfills basic needs.
- Instead of carrying money in your pocket or purse, carry a couple of apples, energy bars or similar items. Offer to share the treat.
- If you live in a metro area with a transit system that offers public transit tokens, carry a few extra one trip passes in your pocket. Often times people will request money saying they need a dollar for the bus. If you have a bus pass to give them instead, that should satisfy their need.
- If you aren’t financially able to do any of the above, offer them information on homeless resources that may be available to them. You might want to print up small cards listing contact information and addresses of some of the nearby shelter or food banks. Even simpler, just make yourself familiar with the name and general location of one or two places. They may already know about the Youth Shelter that opens at nine p.m. in the University District, but will appreciate the suggestion even so.