Did anyone here ever have someone knock on your door and ask for food?

The panhandler story reminded me of this.

My mother grew up in the 1930s and 1940s in a small town that was bisected by a railroad, which went through the southern edge of the property. Men who had been riding the rails, or maybe sometimes hitchhiked, would sometimes knock on the door and ask for food. Grandma would make eggs, toast, and coffee, and maybe a strip or two of bacon if she had some, and offer him a cigarette if he wanted it (do keep the times in mind) but no matter how bad the weather was, she would never let them in the house, even if Grandpa or their two sons were at home. ETA: They didn’t get indoor plumbing until the 1950s.

Andy Rooney said his mother did the same thing, and like my mother, asked why no women ever came begging for food. Grandma didn’t know, and neither did his mother, but things I’ve seen on PBS shows and read elsewhere implied that it was not safe for women to do that; there were some teenage girls who rode the rails after running away from home, often for very good reasons, but those girls would travel in packs and often had brothers or their boyfriends with them. In addition, in many areas, women who fell on hard times could go back to their parents or other extended family members, whereas men were considered to be largely on their own.

Do people still do that now, or are they more likely to use shelters and soup kitchens? I will add that the town where my mother grew up is not large enough to have a homeless shelter, although some organizations may serve free meals at various times.

I had one drug addict who lived few houses away knock on my door about 9PM and ask for money ($20 IIRC) late at night with a weird excuse about CVS closing and he needed money for his sister’s inhaler blah blah blah.

Food never, and it would be weird if they did, because if you are impoverished many things are out of reach, but you can usually get enough food to survive via govt assistance or shelters.

When I lived in Savannah I had people knocking on my door to sell me steaks they just stole from the local grocery…because they needed money for food. Yeah.

Once a woman, clearly quite crazy–wearing an apron, of all things–came to the door asking for a half cup of sugar. I shooed her away, but not before making clear that homeless people need to eat something healthier than straight sugar.

Aside from my kids, no. But I’ve heard stories like yours from older folks.

Yeah, my neighbour Neil came around this morning and asked if he could have a couple of lemons. Gave him some courgettes, too.

I posted about it. Once a stranger knocked on my door and asked for ketchup.

I had a rich guy pull up to me once, he asked me for some “Gray Poupon”-what’s that?

“Do you have change for a hundre… HEY COME BACK HERE WITH THAT!!!”

Technically, yes. One or two scavenger hunts, someone was looking for an egg, among other items.

Early in my marriage, we were staying at my MIL’s house and she saw someone disreputable coming up the driveway and started wondering what she could offer him for food. She was unaccustomed to mathematicians and how they often looked (it took a while for her to come to terms with me). When he knocked on the door and introduced himself as my collaborator, she was much relieved. He was 6’3" and quite thin, but not emaciated. Why he happened to be in southern NJ I no longer remember, but I had obviously given him the address.

But no, no one has rang to ask for food. Give me a copy of the Watchtower, yes, not ask for food.

Only for food drives. Never for their personal use.

I have heard stories of how after feeding a hobo, he places some sort of mark on your property, a secret sign that tells other hoboes this house will feed you. A variation of this story was on Mad Men. I knew a guy from Minnesota who said hoboes were always stopping by their house when he was growing up, and one of them 'fessed up to his mother about the mark but didn’t show her. Or so this guy said. Any truth to these stories?

I’ve heard the same thing about door to door sales people leaving a sucker mark at houses that fall for them. Think it’s more of an urban legend.

Growing up, we had lots of stay at home moms in my neighborhood and families with only one car, so it wasn’t uncommon for neighbors to borrow staples like butter, milk, sugar,flour, even coffee. But it certainly wasn’t because of starvation.

My late Mother always said one should never turn anyone away who came looking for food as it could be Jesus having returned.

I never had that happen but in the 1950’s if you lived next to a blvd or railway it would not be unusual for hobos to ask for food, they would often offer some work in return.

Not an urban legend. They’re called “NO SOLICITORS” signs. :smiley:

I was a teenager. One day a guy knocked on the door and asked if we had any food.

I didn’t know what to do. The guy wasn’t a stranger; he’d recently been over for dinner just a week earlier. He was new to the neighborhood and I suppose my mother wanted to welcome him. Also, he had visited our church. He had this cool talent of being able to whistle through his hands, and I seem to recall he performed a churchy song for us.

So I ran upstairs and told my mother about the guy’s request. I thought she was going to tell me to give him some food, for goodness sake! She’s not only Christian, but her ministry has always been about helping poor people. (She ran a non-profit for over 20 years for hunger-related causes).

I can’t remember if she turned the guy away or if she made me do it. All I remember is that I felt very crappy and confused.

I didn’t see him again after that.

Or trick-or-treaters. :stuck_out_tongue:

My mother says it was common for men to come by during the depression, and ask if there was some odd job they could do. Her mother would have them sweep the porch or something, and give them a meal in exchange.