Items to Buy for Homeless People?

Been coming across the beggars outside Aldi/supermarkets lately.
Know I can ask them… or give them a choice of a few things.
There was one sleeping and didn't wanna wake him up.

My go-to is plain Water.
Was thinking of bypassing salty snacks like chips and sweet stuff like milk choco (but darkchoc is bit healthier)

What other products might you pick up for them inside??


  • +5

    Face wipes
    Wash cloth
    Hand sanitiser
    Cotton swabs
    Toothbrush/ Toothpaste
    Comb/hair brush
    Hand lotion
    First aid kit
    Small torch
    Rain Poncho
    Opal card with a small credit on it
    Breaky bars/Snacks/ Can of tuna and crackers
    Pen + Note pad

    • +2

      Small torch

      don't forget some batteries.

      • Not the glitter eneloops though

    • +9

      I've heard that feminine hygiene pads for females are also an option

  • Grocery store gift cards may be a good option; if you don't have time to go out and buy individual pieces here and there, just get a $20 or $100 Colesworth gift card. They could however end up just spending it on useless items that won't help them.

  • +4

    Drugs & booze

    • +14

      Careful, your stupid is showing

  • +2

    We sometimes help a friend prepare multiples of one meal for her volunteer work preparing meals for the homeless.

    Breakfast is easiest to get the kids to help - a Weetbix, popper drink and milk, muesli bar, piece of fruit. You need to also provide a bag, disposable bowl/container, spoon.

    If you don't have time to supply a meal, just buy a couple of pieces of fruit. Easiest is when fruits are in season/on special at your grocers or supermarket, buy say 2kgs and grab a couple of extra plastic bags and hand the excess out, or buy say a prepacked 1kg bag of apples and give one or two out.

  • +6

    Healthier(ish): Muesli bars (the healthier ones), fruit like strawberries or blueberries, crackers, nuts.

    Less healthy but maybe appreciated: donut, muffin, cheese rolls.

    Coles/woolies grocery voucher would probably be more appreciated.

    I suppose the question is, would you eat random food you found in front of you when you woke up?

    Realistically most homeless people can more or less get food, albeit not without effort. What most need is appropriate housing (some people don’t want this). Look into “housing first” as a concept. Essentially the idea is that people are unlikely to get on top of addictions, social or mental health issues that made them homeless, whilst just trying to survive, so to provide housing whilst supporting the person to get help. There’s been quite a few successful trials of these kind of models, so if it’s something you’re passionate about consider donating or getting involved.

  • +4

    Seems like a waste of money to buy stuff for people.

    I'd just give them money. I know you're probably thinking it will go to drugs - and you're probably right.

    After voting for privatisation of everything and the subsequent social disaster on the streets I've no idea what giving a few people food will do.

    • +7

      You sound like a communist giving out a few bucks to the poor! You must embrace the capitalist idea of giving billions and more billions in tax breaks to the church instead.

    • +1

      Honestly being homeless would be horrible so if someone wanted to buy alcohol or drugs with donated money so be it , it may let them escape reality for a while and also a lot of homeless ppl have underlying mental illness and taking drugs or alcohol may take away the feeling for a while …my close family member has schizophrenia and won’t take meds but he does drink as he says it helps him cope …

  • +11

    Muffin bottoms

    • +4

      No soup for you!

    • +1

      And flagged books

  • +10

    A house.

  • 65 inch TV

  • condoms

  • +1

    Can I throw a question back at you? What's your go to way for approaching them (assuming they are awake)?

    I'll give an example, saw a bloke living rough in his car early morning outside a church. Wanted to say something/help as I'm going pretty alright these days. Ended up wracking my brain because I couldn't work out how to broach it. For me, if I was in his position, random pity from strangers would likely sting the most. So how do you initiate the chat/offer to help out while keeping their dignity intact?
    I've done it a before but in more public spaces as it's easier to keep it casual and let them dictate the tempo, but knocking on a live-in-car window is quite direct..

    • +4

      if theyre living in their car, maybe go up and knock on window, and announce..welcome to the neighbourhood,and offer them a basket of different goods as a welcome gift.

      • +3

        I can't tell if that's a joke but that is legitimately a great idea!

        • +1

          not a joke.
          everyone wants to feel welcome, esp those without

    • +1

      I watch a fair few tv shows n homeless ppl say they just want to be acknowledged as a person and to have a chat with someone who will treat them nicely …honestly having a chat with someone in need can make a difference to their life for that small time ..

    • Yeah, I don't think most people care about dignity when they're hungry or homeless. Just approach him and ask if he needs help with anything, or whether he'd like to join you for a quick meal (though be warned - most of them will think you're taking the piss or setting them up for something, which is frankly telling of how (profanity) up society is).

      I actually wish more homeless people hung around my area, especially the ones who are visibly trying hard to keep their shit together. When I see some of the beggars in in CBD sleeping right on the concrete out in the open without even a blanket, it's hard not to feel like they're beyond help. They've clearly given up.

  • +3

    Have a conversation, but only if they are open to it (i.e. not asleep or not engaging with others in the area). Listen to what they feel comfortable telling you. Ask politely if there is anything they need just now.
    Say hello next time you see the same person.

  • +7

    We closed down asylums and now dump our mentally ill on the streets, great.

    • Who said that these people have mental illnesses?

      And even if they do, what does that have to do with it?

      Mind you, I agree with you that our 'system' of putting some types of people who have mental illnesses into group homes leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not sure that asylums were the best option, either.

      • Asylums might not be the best solution, but a mediocre solution is better than a pandemonium free for all. I think asylums get a bad name for the fact that they were around when we were very ignorant about mental illness, compared to today. The Australian government is building concentration camps around the place, but I'm sure they will be used for something significantly more shady.

        • I agree with you that asylums got a bad name because of the era when we were very ignorant about mental illnesses. In a lot of cases in the general public, from the people I speak to, I'm not sure that things are much better now. They probably are, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it.

          You ignored my comment on the relevance of 'dump our mentally ill on the streets'. I think that you should at the very least retract that statement.

          And this whole discussion is way off the track of What to buy for homeless people.

          • @Kandrew: Retract statements on ozbargain? Are you insinuating that I have pride in anything I post? Haha

    • Exactly the government new asylum is the streets or jail these days

  • +1

    My husband has done a few walks through the city with a pack he's made up, based on advice from a friend who used to be homeless. Consists of a sandwich, piece of fruit, a cupcake/muffin, and a savoury treat (like a bag of chips). If people are awake when you give it to them, great, if not just gently place it next to them/their sleeping bag. The groups he met were lovely and always happy to see him.

    The idea for the supermarket voucher is a good one too.

  • Whatever makes you feel better go for it

  • Great post OP, and would love to hear about what you ended up doing. It's a shame that even in a thread intended to do some good, there are still commenters who take glee in dumping on those less fortunate than them. I'm sorry that you are so damaged that your empathy has disappeared, but please, do try to pull your head out of your arse every once in a while—the air is much fresher out here!

    • -1

      Tbf there is a discussion that needs to be had on why some homeless people have completely given up on trying to survive. One would almost have to assume they're suicidal or too far beyond redemption.

      I reckon the government should put our campaigns urging these people to keep fighting. Most people will just say the government should just take care of these people but we can't help anyone unless they're willing to help themselves first.

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