From the NY Times:
Here’s a sign the recession is not over: New York City this year may discontinue its program of buying scarves, backpacks, even watches, for the homeless at Christmas.
Watches? For the homeless?
“It does strike me as surprising, if not shocking,’’ said Mary Brosnahan, the executive director for the Coalition for the Homeless, who had not heard of the program. “I have a waiting room of people every morning in desperate need of help, and I’ve been at the coalition for 20 years and never heard anyone say they needed a watch.”
The gift program has been around since 2002 when the city decided that providing small, personal items to a needy population would be a nice, useful gesture. Over the years, purchasing orders (one pictured below) show that the city has spent about $25,000 buying more than 6,500 watches and thousands of dollars more buying scarves and other gifts for single men and women in the shelter system. Officials say they try to keep the cost below $10 a person.