How the Poor Can Help the Poor

These days, most people can relate to the effects of having their money decrease through unforeseen events - such as with the stock market's fluctuations, downturns in business, loss of job, natural disasters, and ill health or relationship problems.  If it's not something you have experienced yet, it just means your turn is coming.  Not that I say that to be negative, but the good and bad happens to everyone, and you have to be realistic.  There are far too many people out there who seem to think they are exempt from many harsh realities and their consequences, and therefore have no sympathy for those who are down in their luck.

What makes a charitable organization thrive?  Is it the generous donors who pour money into the cause, then sit back to write them off on their taxes?  As much as it seems that way sometimes, the true mark of success is the people.  Sure, an organization can survive with a bunch of cut-throats who are only in it to make money...but at the end of the day, they are not helping the people who really could use the assistance, and eventually those selfish deeds are brought to light.

The same is true for churches, hospitals, and other community organizations that serve the public as a whole or for specific needs.  They all require participation from people - who donate money and time to what they believe in.  What makes people so important to helping the poor?  Well, the most enthusiastic supporters and workers who really reach out to those who are having problems are the very people who have once experienced such low-points in their own lives.  These people are humble, down-to-earth, and have big hearts when it comes to serving others who are going through what they once did.  It all boils down to empathy.  You can tell who has it and who doesn't.

So going back to helping the poor...it takes people who are or have been poor to really make a difference.  Sadly, not everyone wants to disclose that they might have come from poverty.  But you know what?  That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger!  It's nothing to be ashamed of, even if you are highly successful today because you were motivated to rise above where you once where.  If you learned from the experience, hopefully you are careful with money, wisely investing where you can, and you are able to volunteer whenever possible.

But what if you have never been poor, can you still help?  Absolutely!  All it takes is your willingness to place yourself in their shoes.  Perhaps you have other similarities you can draw upon to make a connection with the poor.  Maybe some of the other issues mentioned that can cause poverty have happened to you, so that at some level, you have empathy for them.  When you can do that, you can truly make a difference, no matter how old you are, what you do for a living, or what you believe.  Since we are all people doing the best we can on this small rock called Earth, that common bond alone should draw us together to help each other discover the simple joys in life, be encouraged in times of trouble, and have hope in a better tomorrow.

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Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I see no reason why one would hide from the fact that they have been poor. I do not think it is shameful to be poor. It is shameful to be lazy and `self-defeat is your own dispute` (Damion Marley).

I think you are correct in saying that those who have been poor are in the best position to help because they know the situation better.

I can remember at least twice in my life when I have given my last toonie (in Canada we have two dollar coins ... brutal) away to a homeless person. So, I have made it from broke to comfortable, back to broke and back to comfortable several times in my life and I appreciate the experience it gave me.

Good blog! Cheers. (Read my Poor People, blog if you have some time - or just enjoy the photographs.)

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