Cruise Ship Passengers Helping Themselves To Free Coffee & Donuts At Homeless Shelter

Image courtesy of Google Earth

We get it: Cruises can be expensive, and often the food and drink at ports of call can be pricier than what you pay back home. But that doesn’t mean you have to bogart the free coffee and donuts at the homeless shelter near the dock.

For many cruise ships making the trip up the Pacific coastline to Alaska, the small city of Ketchikan is the first stop heading north, allowing travelers to get off the ship for a bit, walk around and do a bit of shopping before moving on to the next port.

Earlier this week, at a meeting of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly, the operator of First City Homeless Services, a downtown day shelter in the city, revealed that not all of the people who visit the shelter are homeless, especially during the cruise season between May and September.

“The season opened this week, and one of the hidden items that happens as a result of the proximity of the day shelter to downtown and the cruise ships is we do often get the husband who doesn’t want to go shopping anymore to come to the shelter to sit — seriously — to drink our free our free coffee, use our free bathrooms, and eat our free donuts,” she explained to the Assembly. “So proximity to downtown for the day shelter even benefits the cruise agencies.”

While the shelter is seeking more money from the Borough, it’s not looking to bar the cruise ship freeloaders.

“We are for the homeless, but we’re also for the community, for anybody, who needs a safe place to stay,” the shelter’s services manager tells the Seattle Times. “This door is open for anybody who needs resources… I just can’t see myself turning somebody away for a cup of coffee even if they’re not from here or they’re using the bathroom or if they needed a break from walking around.”