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