- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

As a way to keep alcoholics from causing a nuisance in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, the Rainbow Foundation Project is using government grants and donations to pay the troublemakers in beer and tobacco to clean up the city.

The project pays the alcoholics 10 euros ($13.53), half a pouch of rolling tobacco and five cans of beer for every day they show up for work, the Daily Mail reported.

“This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women,” said Gerrie Holterman, who runs the program. “The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park.”

Volunteers arrive to work at 9 a.m. and are given two cans of beer before their shift. After a few hours they are served a hot meal with two more cans of beer. When the day is through at 3:30 p.m., Ms. Holterman sends them home with another can, the Daily Mail said.

“You have to see things like this: everyone benefits,” she said. “They’re no longer in the park, they drink less, they eat better and they have something to keep them busy during the day.”

One alcoholic disagreed that is makes them drink less.

“When we leave here, we go to the supermarket and transform the 10 euros we earned into beers. When the supermarket opens at 8:00 am, we’re the first there so we can get some drinks,” a man known only as Frank told the Daily Mail.

But a man named Vincent said it not only makes him drink less, it gives him a sense of purpose.

“When I get home, I’ve already had a busy day and I don’t necessarily want to drink,” he said. “We also feel satisfied, a job well done, contributing to society despite the fact that we drink.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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