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22 Aug

Replating: Admirable or Apathetic?

Have you seen this trend? Next time you see a doggie bag atop a trash can, don’t assume the owner was too lazy to throw it away. This is replating. It’s the newest movement in helping the homeless and hungry. I’m not sure about the implications for public health. Aside from that, shouldn’t we be doing more to prevent homelessness? Romantic idealism doesn’t generally work in this place called reality, so while I like realistic and efficient solutions, I don’t like casual charity that absolves people of greater responsibility and real sacrifice. We thoughtlessly waste so much food in this country. And plenty of our own people go hungry. Is this a reasonable way to stop waste and alleviate a problem? I’m not sure there isn’t a whiff of apathy coming out of that doggie bag.

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  1. I never leave my leftovers on a trash can. But if I’m not going to eat them I will hand them to a homeless person or panhandler if they want it. I was homeless for a few years and whenever someone did this for me I was always grateful. A lot of the programs available to help the homeless or help the homeless help themselves are not easy to access. Shelters and soup kitchens are often dangerous. I could go on and on. Anyways all I’m saying is as a homeless teenager I always appreciated someones leftovers when I could get them. I got back on my feet but it took some time and you have to eat in that time. You never know someones situation and every little bit helps. It won’t solve the problem but it will brighten up someones day and make their tummy full.

    Mel Practice wrote on August 22nd, 2007
  2. Wow, Danielle. Thank you for sharing that touching and personal anecdote. Personally I hand leftovers to someone if I can – I like to smile and say hi. It’s not much but at least it’s showing respect.

    Sara wrote on August 22nd, 2007
  3. Never heard of the replating concept, but I love it. Its a lot like dumpster diving, which I’m a big fan of (hell, I did it to my neighbors last week). Dumpster diving is pretty much like it sounds, you hit up a dumpster for items of value, almost always furniture, but occasionally books. My roommates and I have dumpster dived two couches, a full desk, a bicycle, and several lamps, including a soft blue end table light I’ve had for six years which works as a lovely conversation piece at dinner parties.

    The best time to dumpster dive is at the beginning and end of the school year. College kids are moving in and out of dorms, leaving all their great Ikea stuff for the taking.

    Anyway, homeless or not, trash is just another possible resource.

    Bradford wrote on August 22nd, 2007
  4. Hey, dumpster diving is dangerous!

    Sara wrote on August 22nd, 2007
  5. Dangerously cool. Dangerously sexy. Dangerously awesome.

    Bradford wrote on August 22nd, 2007
  6. Mel,

    Your story reminds me of a situation I witnessed in China, a country where poverty overwhelms most people to the point of indifference. While eating a bowl of noodles at a fast food joint in a shopping center, I noticed a boy somewhere between the age of ten and thirteen lingering. As soon as a patron would get up leaving their food unfinished, he would swoop in and gobble the remains, which otherwise would have ended up in the trash. A young Chinese man also noticed his behavior and brought him a fresh, piping hot bowl of soup, which the boy accepted with a grateful smile. This was a child who lived from meal to meal, and this little act of kindness spared him hunger pangs for a few hours and more importantly, taught him that there are strangers who care enough to help.

    Sonagi wrote on August 23rd, 2007

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