A Louisiana restaurant has an entire wall filled with pre-paid meal tickets for those who can’t afford to pay for a hot meal. Papi’s Mexican Cuisine in Denham Springs wanted to help its homeless population by allowing them to eat without having to worry about how they’ll pay for it or feeling embarrassed by asking for free food, WBRZ reports. While the tickets were originally paid for by the restaurant’s owner, Alejandro Ortiz, now many of their loyal customers have gotten in on the gesture.
A restaurant in Denham Springs has a wall with prepaid tickets for people that are hungry but can’t afford food, are homeless, etc. They just grab a ticket with a meal they would like which a previous customer paid for. from r/HumansBeingBros
- The community spirit is high at Papi’s. “These people, when they come, they’re homeless, they don’t have any money,” Ortiz said. “Sometimes they don’t have any dignity because they’ve been asking for stuff. So I was like how can I make it a little better for them, even if it’s just for a little while, a little moment?” That’s when he came up with the idea for the meal tickets.
- The premise is simple: grab a ticket and go. To avoid embarrassment and help fill the bellies of the local homeless population, the meal tickets are hanging on the wall and can simply be grabbed by customers in need and cashed in for a hot meal with full service. “And they feel, even for a moment, that they have all of their dignity back. They’re not begging for nothing. They just come in here, get a ticket and they eat,” Ortiz explained to WBRZ.
- Ortiz is heartened to know that local customers want to help too. While he was happy to bankroll the meal tickets out of his own pockets for as long as it took, it wasn’t long before local customers saw what he was offering and decided to chip in. “The first tickets, it was me and my family basically. But as time went on, people saw this and other customers started paying for tickets,” Ortiz said.
- There’s no worry about people who don’t need the tickets taking them. While some might worry that people might take advantage of the free meal ticket system, that’s not something that Ortiz is worried about. “Some people always tell me somebody might abuse it a little bit, and I see people that maybe don’t need it… But you never know when somebody needs a break.”