News Articles

Timothy Cardinal Dolan says he gives homeless panhandlers $5 gift cards to Starbucks and McDonald’s - New York Daily News

The leader of the Archdiocese of New York generally doesn’t shun homeless panhandlers — he gives them $5 gift cards from McDonald’s or Starbucks.

And sometimes Timothy Cardinal Dolan buys them sandwiches.

Dolan spoke of his generosity Tuesday on his SiriusXM/Catholic Channel radio program while interviewing Msgr. Kevin Sullivan of Catholic Charities.

“Let me ask you this. Is this wise or not?” Dolan began. “I know somebody who carries gift certificates, like $5 for McDonald’s or $5 for Starbucks, and will give them that. Is that a better way than giving them money?”

“I think it’s a great idea,” Sullivan replied.

“I’m glad you agree. That’s what I do,” Dolan said with a laugh. “Sometimes I will say, ‘What do you need?’ ‘Oh, I need something to eat.’ I will say, ‘Here, let’s go in here and I’ll buy you a sandwich and a cup of coffee.’”

Dolan also admitted he has, at times, felt torn about helping out panhandlers.

“Sometimes I’m tempted to walk by and sometimes I do,” he said.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, whom Dolan called “a good guy,” angered advocates on Monday by saying that homeless panhandlers would disappear if people stopped giving them money.

Sullivan said even if someone doesn’t want to give a panhandler cash “at least treat them like a human being.”

“Don't treat them with disdain,” he said. “Treat the person with respect even if you don't give them what they want.”

Read More