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How to help poor? what is the best way in your view?

Updated on September 21, 2008

Something to carry through generations

There are many ways in which we can help the poor recover and be prosperous. While I do believe that there is a necessity for some immediate "giving" at times, I believe that if we help to educate people on how to be prosperous and help themselves, the effect would be far greater than just a one time gift.

I don't just mean the school education. I mean "field" education as well. The old Chinese proverb has proven to be true for many generations and that is simply "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a meal. But if you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime". If we simply drop a dime in a hat, we are doing no more than giving them a fish. If, instead, we give them the education and tools to help themselves then we are giving them something that will not only help them but that they can pass on for generations to come and help break the cycle of poverty.

I believe that instead of just building more and more shelters and handing out more welfare checks, that we should take it a few steps farther. What if, in building those shelters, it included more than just a meal and a cot? What if there were also free classes that could help teach people how to support themselves, rather than be dependent on others? Instead of just giving them a place to sleep, teach them how to earn it. There are all sorts of jobs that they could do in order to earn their way.

There are volunteers at those shelters that help run it. Instead of having people who already have income do this, have the people that use the services pitch in and help. I am pretty sure there are plenty of hands that can pitch in with this and it will help them to feel like they are useful again. Many poor people feel useless and helpless to change their situation. These people need motivation and counceling to help them understand that it is not hopeless if they are willing to learn and help themselves.

You may ask, "How do you get those to participate that don't want to?" Pretty simple, really. No work, no help! I know, that is harsh but it is the way real life has been for generations long before welfare checks and charities came along. Now, before you start bashing me saying I am against charity, let me just say that I am not against charities at all. There are many times people just need a helping hand in a disaster or unforeseen tragedy. I don't mean these types of charities.

I am speaking of on a continual basis such as shelters, welfare (for those who are not disabled), even help to third world countries. While it is wonderful that this country is so willing to help others, I believe we are further crippling our own nation by simply giving hand-outs. Education is the greatest gift that you can give and we all have something to learn from each other. If we pooled some of the funds that go into these types of shelters and use it to start free business classes and basic education for those who need it then it could only improve the economics of this group who utilize the services. The bottom line is that you can not help someone who doesn't want to help themselves. You can only help cripple them more. If they are willing to help themselves then that is where these types of programs can make a big difference. It isn't hard to tell who wants to help themselves and just needs the means to do it from those who simply want to feed off of others' kindness.

When my husband and I were over the road in the truck for 6 years, it was easy to tell if someone was truly in need. We kept a supply of pop-lid canned soups and crackers, plastic spoons and napkins. Whenever someone approached wanting money for food, we offered them the meal. If they turned it down, we knew that they really didn't want the food but cash to buy drugs or alcohol. If they accepted gratefully, we knew that they really were in need and would buy them a hot meal. If you just give to anyone who walks up to you on the street, whether you realize it or not, you could very well be adding to the drug problem that they already have. So try to developed a way that you can be sure you are giving to those truly in need and not just out there begging for their next fix.

I know that this will not be a "quick fix" but then nothing is. These people didn't reach this point overnight and it will not be fixed overnight. But I do believe that it can be greatly improved by simply offering something more long term than just a hot meal and a cot. It just takes some planning and patience.

Bonnie Ramsey


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    • profile image

      Help me 

      6 years ago

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    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Very well said! I certainly agree that we can all make a difference! I hope that eventually there will be a solution to end poverty but my guess is that it will continue to some degree, as sad as that is to think about.

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting!


    • rogue nestling profile image

      rogue nestling 

      10 years ago

      Great Hub. I am a big advocate for helping the children and young people in need, so they get support to prevent them from becoming adults in need. We all are susceptible to being at the other end of a charitable organization, so it never hurts to share the blessings we have, when we have them.

      Any one of us can't solve everything, but we can easily do one small thing.

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States


      I appreciate your comments and I respect your opinion. However, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this subject. I am certainly not denying the fact that there is famine in these countries and that there is hatred and envy in the world over riches. Always has been and always will be.

      But to blame all of it on the west is a bit far fetched in my opinion. And I believe that it is more control and religeous beliefs that fuel terrorism. We could give these terrorists everything we own and they would still attack because it is the control that they want. They don't think anyone has a right to live if they don't believe in their religeon. That is not my opinion. That is a fact that has been proven attack after attack. But that is a whole other Hub lol.

      As I said, I appreciate your comments and I respect your opinion but we are definitely on different sides of the fence on this one.

    • The Indexer profile image

      John Welford 

      10 years ago from UK

      Yes, I did spot your mention of the third world, which is why I used the word "mostly" in my comment. However, I think you will find that the United States is one of the meanest western countries in terms of aid, when seen as a proportion of GDP. I would also maintain that the poverty of the have-nots in the West is as nothing to that of many countries in, for example, sub-Saharan Africa, where famine and the ravages of Aids are making life a misery for many millions of people. Much of their poverty is caused by the policies of the West, for example in keeping these countries in debt.

      It is in our own best interests to fight world poverty, and it is certainly common sense to do what we can to bring the living standards of everyone to a decent level. It is the huge disparity between rich and poor that creates hatred and envy, that in turn fuels terrorism, and also leads to mass migrations, both legal and illegal.

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the comments!

      The Indexer, if you will reread, you will find that I also mentioned third world countries in this hub. While it would be a bit more detailed, I believe that the answer there would also be education and aid in in this area. However, the request simply said the poor and while I truly believe in helping other countries, I believe our first priority should be our own. It stands to reason that if we help our own country become more prosperous, we could provide even more aid to other countries.

      But I have never been able to understand how we can spend so many billions on aid to others when our own are starving as well. I think it is great that our country is so giving to others. However, I believe that there is a major lack of education in those countries as well when it comes to providing for their own. I am not saying that we should cut off all aid to these countries in the least. I am saying that their needs to be an element of common sense in the giving.

    • The Indexer profile image

      John Welford 

      10 years ago from UK

      I'm interested that you mostly considered local poverty in your answer. When I saw this question my immediate thoughts turned to the countries of Africa and elsewhere, where millions starve because of globalisation and the greed of western mega-companies. Perhaps I should research and write a hub that looks at these aspects!

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      A very beneficial hub.

      Thank you


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