Volunteer FAQ > What to bring / How to Prepare > Should I bring money?

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Most of the people we serve have been there before and know the rules. On rare occasion (once or twice a year at most), a newcomer may create situations you need to know how to handle.

If anyone asks you for money, no matter what the reason, your answer is, "None of us ever brings any money when we come to serve (avoid saying 'down to serve'), but we have the best soup in town, sandwiches, cake, hard boiled eggs, drinks, great music, and great company, but, sorry, no money.” You don't need to send this person to anyone else. The answer is the same from everyone.

They may be quite creative in their reasons for urgency. For example:

A man may show you $1.75 and say he only needs and only wants 25 cents more to make Metro fare of $2.00 so he can visit his mother in the hospital before closing, or so he can make curfew at the shelter. Otherwise he'll be locked out for the night. Can't you spare just 25 cents and no more?

A woman may show you a hospital ID bracelet on her wrist and say she just got out tonight, is still bleeding and needs just 50 cents more to get pads at a drug store. Can you spare just 50 cents and no more?

No matter what the reason, the answer is the same. This is much easier to do if you are telling the truth. Unless you are taking the Metro home from a site, don't bring any money at all.

For this reason, we cannot accept cash from anyone. If we did, then we would have it and couldn't say we don't have it. We do take other donations on site, e.g., food, clothes, gas.

There are 2 reasons for this policy on money.

  • If we ever did give money to anyone, everyone would be asking for it all the time.
  • We are sharing territory with drug dealers who know we are not there to compete for business. If they saw money change hands, it would make co-existence more difficult.

If anyone asks to speak privately to you, they probably want to ask for money. Your answer is, "I'm happy to talk about anything you like, but I'm most comfortable right here."

Again, it is important to emphasize that these situations occur only once or twice a year, at most, and only with newcomers.

Last updated on January 27, 2008 by SundaySuppers