Is it wrong to take a free lunch when I don't need it?

Former_MSE_Nick Former MSE Posts: 463
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edited 16 June 2015 at 4:26PM in Food shopping & groceries
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

There's a man who serves plates of hot food (donated by supermarkets) on behalf of the Hare Krishna movement at a university near where I work. I've started going at lunchtime, but some of my colleagues think it should only be for those who really need it. The man knows I'm not a student, and I make a donation to his cause every time.

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  • rachiibell
    rachiibell Forumite Posts: 300 Forumite
    If you're making a donation each time it's not really a free lunch.
  • geordie_joe
    geordie_joe Forumite Posts: 9,112
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    If the food is donated by supermarkets you making a donation will not make another meal available for someone else.

    If your colleagues are right then it is not a case of you taking food you don't need, it's a case of you taking food that is not meant for you.

    You've got a job, so go and buy your food from a shop and leave the free food for those who need it.
  • eviebea
    eviebea Forumite Posts: 183
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Why not ask the man serving the meals for advice?
  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Forumite Posts: 4,632 Forumite
    Sounds like it's for those in need rather than those looking to get a bargain.

    I could go into our city centre late at night and get a free supper from the mobile Salvation Army canteen. I feel that would be deceitful and depriving others.
  • jenniewb
    jenniewb Forumite Posts: 12,833
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Photogenic Combo Breaker
    Maybe ask the person in charge to keep something aside when it comes to throwing away things, collect what has been kept for you just before they close; this way you know you're not taking anything someone in need could have had.
  • Owain_Moneysaver
    Owain_Moneysaver Forumite Posts: 11,346
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Just because you're working doesn't mean you're not on a low income.

    It's your decision.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
  • ilovemygarden
    ilovemygarden Forumite Posts: 110 Forumite
    wouldn't this be better placed on the Discussion Time thread?
  • scoobydoobydoo
    scoobydoobydoo Forumite Posts: 111 Forumite
    It doesnt matter if you make a donation, you taking a meal means one less meal available for someone who may not have the funds to buy food.

    If you can afford to pay for your own lunch then I think you should do so, I would think less of a colleague who is doing what you are doing.

    They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, and this one is costing you the respect of the people you work with, I wouldnt want to be seen as "that" person.
  • roms
    roms Forumite Posts: 78 Forumite
    jenniewb wrote: »
    Maybe ask the person in charge to keep something aside when it comes to throwing away things, collect what has been kept for you just before they close; this way you know you're not taking anything someone in need could have had.

    I agree. If your not sure if it is right then find out if it is. If the food is being donated to help people who need it and if you don't need it then i guess it's not morally correct. The company that donate it may feel there trust is being abused and therefore stop offering the food. That means everyone suffers.
  • liz545
    liz545 Forumite Posts: 1,726 Forumite
    There is often a Hare Krishna food truck at the university where I work. The queue is often massive, and I'm sure many of the students could afford to pay for their lunches (many of the students who study here are from well-off backgrounds). I'm sure the HK volunteers know this, and if they wanted to target those most in need, there are places they could go where they would be serving the homeless.

    They choose where they serve lunch for reasons other than just serving the needy - part of it is about demonstrating HK values and raising awareness of what HK do. So I wouldn't feel like you're being a fraud or cheating anyone by not being destitute, but if you want to, the suggestion of asking the people who are serving is a good one, and might put your mind at rest.
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