VENTURA (AP) — A Southern California man's tradition of handing out cash totaling $1,000 to homeless men was broken when he was turned away by a shelter on Christmas Day.
Harvey Youngman said he felt dejected driving home from the Ventura County Rescue Mission's facility in Oxnard with a bag of unopened cards stuffed with $20 bills.
The Ventura County Star reports Youngman had been bringing money-filled cards to the mission for about a decade. However, the shelter's new director, John Saltee, said the money can be tempting for the men who are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.
"When you're handed money, there's your ticket," he told the newspaper.
Saltee drew the line when a man who received one of Youngman's $20 bills last year got drunk and left the recovery program.
Youngman said he didn't think it was fair for others to be penalized by one person's weakness. Although Saltee suggested giving the money toward the purchase of a television, or giving the men $5 gift cards to McDonald's, Youngman said he preferred to hand them money-filled cards.
"Here's the way I look at it: They're all adults," he said. "A $20 gift will not change your life one way or another, but it makes them happier for that Christmas Day."
Youngman says he'll find something to do with the cards.