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How to Help the Homeless

Updated on November 23, 2013

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is where some people are forced to sleep while we enjoy our warm,comfortable beds.
This is where some people are forced to sleep while we enjoy our warm,comfortable beds. | Source

My young son was asked to do a school project on some arbitrary important issue in our country. He chose to do a presentation on the condition of the homeless in Connecticut. His project included a survey requiring him to contact people we knew in the community to ask them if they were aware of programs to help the homeless. The most common response was that "they didn't know of any programs", which wasn't a very surprising response. What I found fascinating was the reason they gave - they didn't know of the programs because they never needed help themselves! Moreover, many of these people seemed to feel it was very important that I knew they were too good to need these programs. Amazing! Not only had they given absolutely no thought to how they could help the homeless, but all they cared about was how other people perceived their own financial status!

Some of the statistics my son compiled were surprising. Not only are 15% of all Connecticut children living in poverty, but some cities (such as Hartford) have as many as 50% of the children in this category. Meanwhile, one of my acquaintances owns two houses in the upscale town of Greenwich, a beautiful home with a private beach in Florida, and another home in an upscale area of NYC - along with two high-end BMW's and a Porsche SUV- and he considers himself to have financial problems! Is this really justice? Is it even consistent with the ideals of those that came before us, who intended to create a country where we could all live in Democratic equality? This sounds more like the separation of the peasants and royalty our founders fought against. Should the top 1% of our country have 93% of the income? Should parents have to live in areas with drive-by shootings and have their children attend gang- and drug-dominated schools, while wealthy people's vacation homes sit empty?

My friend Billybuc inspired me to help get the message out regarding the many social ills in this country. Billybuc writes from the heart on the many issues we are faced with and suggests ways to live a simpler, more frugal life. He is a role model to me, and provides much support to so many people here on HubPages. I am more than happy to help because I believe awareness is the first step toward social change. As of now there are 46.2 million people living below the poverty line in our very own country and many more people in the world in even worse conditions. This is the highest number in two decades. We are all aware of the Occupy Wall Street protests and the economic realities of those that struggle every day, especially during the last few years. To be honest, I'm in no way jealous or resentful of all those wealthy people - although I wouldn't mind having a vacation home of my own - but I do believe there should be a more equitable distribution of the wealth.

Anyone Can Become Homeless

It's hard to believe that there are people in our country that have to search the garbage to find a meal.
It's hard to believe that there are people in our country that have to search the garbage to find a meal. | Source

What Can You Do To Help?

Many of us are struggling these days just to provide for our own family, so we can't imagine finding the resources to help others. However, even if we think it is hard for us, the reality is that there are always people somewhere who are much worse off. If every person contributed in a small way, the combined effort would result in a big change. Here are some suggestions that require a minimal amount of money and time:

  • Donate to the food pantry in your area. More people today are relying upon the food pantry to feed their families, yet donations are at an all-time low. Contact your food pantry to find out what items they need the most. Donating just two items a week can make a huge difference.
  • Donate items that you no longer need through Freecycle.org. This is a fascinating site that allows people to donate and receive things such as furniture, computers, appliances or baby equipment - absolutely free! Check it out. You can join a group in your state and donate items you no longer need, some of which could change someone else's life. I love this concept because people can get things they need without feeling the judgment they may feel when going through charities. I'm going to donate some good-quality baby equipment that we still have up in the attic. It's nice to think that my old stuff could make a real difference to some young couple with a new baby.
  • Spend a few hours a week or even a few hours a month helping to build a home for someone that would otherwise be homeless through Habitat for Humanity. You can also help in other ways. My son volunteered to help out in their store, which has used low-cost furniture and appliances that recipients of the new homes can use.
  • Offer to provide childcare even just once a month for a single parent so they can work and save a little money. Very often a large percentage of the paycheck is used to cover childcare leaving little for food, clothing, and rent.
  • Surprise a family with a meal or give them a gift certificate to a restaurant that delivers. Even one meal during a challenging time can give a person hope and make a significant difference.
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. It is so important to look people in the eye and treat them with respect so they can feel human in an inhuman situation. A little compassion goes a long way.

Are you doing anything to help eliminate poverty?

See results

Suggested Government Programs to Help

Although we already have many government programs in place such as Welfare and assisted-living arrangements, there are additional ways the government could help with the economic disparity:

  • Supplement income-based taxes with higher sales taxes. For example there could be a 5% tax on a new car. Therefore, a person buying the BMW pays more in income taxes than the person buying a Hyundai. Pure income-based taxes allow too many loopholes and ways to hide income, but sales taxes are related directly to how much free money a person has to spend, and can be targeted toward luxury items.
  • Offer more free education programs on evenings and weekends to enable people to get more advanced training or an educational degree. This kind of investment more than pays off by improving the quality of the workers we have in the workplace. Also, this helps people "help themselves", rather than just providing a direct handout.
  • Offer more free high-quality childcare to enable people to further their education or earn an income. The government can organize such programs much more efficiently and economically by tapping into existing infrastructures such as public school buildings.
  • Encourage the establishment of communal living centers. Such arrangements ensure private sleeping and living areas, but also provide communal common areas like a playground and a shared kitchen. People can share the expenses, childcare responsibilities, and offer moral support.
  • Establish free counseling for people going through financial crises, because it is often hard for a person to change their situation when they feel beaten down and judged by society.

Resources for the Homeless

WWW.HelpUSA.org

WWW.HHS.gov

WWW.NCPublicSchools.org

Can People Who Are Struggling To Survive Economically Realistically Be Happy?

Everyone has an equal right to happiness. Like many others today, my family is facing economic challenges, and I often wonder if it is possible for anyone with financial stress to really be happy. I sometimes feel inundated with well-intentioned comments and articles about how to be happy without money, but is that realistic? When your house needs to be maintained to even be livable, and your car needs to be repaired so you can get to work to keep your income, how can you ignore the fact that you just don't have the money for it? Income never keeps up with the rising costs of medical expenses and utility costs, but employers are cutting pay and jobs, and there is never enough to go around. How do you explain to your children why they have to have so much less than many others they go to school with?

We recently watched a movie that showcased people from all over the world that were poor materialistically but rich in happiness. Some were fishermen in a bayou or people living in shacks in Asia. These people seemed very happy in their own small, private worlds, but we were only shown a tiny slice of a few isolated lives. Blindly ignoring what can go wrong without considering the future may allow you to feel happy today, but what do you do when that changes? What happens when something goes wrong, like a serious health issue when you have no health insurance, or major damage to your home or car when you have no reserves in the bank? Maybe money can't buy happiness, but if you care about your family, a serious lack of money can make it impossible to relax enough to feel happy.

There has to be a middle ground, something between being constantly stressed about what can go wrong, but not going so far as to placidly run away from the consequences. Sometimes a little help from somebody else can be enough to tip the balance. If people knew that there were people with compassion in the world, people who would come through if they really needed it, they could breath a little easier and not have to be so afraid. But even now, too many people seem to be so worried about what they themselves have to deal with, and never consider how they can help others.

What have you done to help eliminate poverty in our country? What have you done to make even one life breath easier? Please let me know if you have suggestions to help those that are in the midst of an economic struggle.

Oh, and what did my young son learn from his school project? Well, he felt that his project had made other people aware of how to help the homeless in Connecticut, and maybe it had even changed their attitudes toward the homeless in general. He summed it all up by saying "one person really can make a difference!" I completely agree!

Resources to Help the Homeless

show route and directions
A markerA Safe Haven Foundation for Women and Children -
2750 W Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL 60608, USA
get directions

B markerBridgeport rescue Mission -
1088 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605, USA
get directions

C markerWasatch Homeless Health Care Program -
Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA
get directions

D markerHPRP Los Angeles-Homeless Assistance -
1200 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017, USA
get directions

E markerCounty of Hillsborough Homeless Recovery Services -
2410 N Tampa St, Tampa, FL 33602, USA
get directions

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    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 21 months ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi gerimcclym,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment and for stepping up and helping the homeless in your area.If there were more people like you there would be much less homelessness in the world. You brought up a good point about the difficulty of finding temporary housing with a pet. Maybe there should be more shelters to take care of pets while people are getting back on their feet or more shelters that allow pets.Happy New Year!

    • gerimcclym profile image

      Geri McClymont 21 months ago

      First, I think it is wonderful that your son chose to do his school project on homelessness in his home state when he could have chosen any topic at all. Homelessness is a serious problem and I appreciate all the ways you list for us to be involved in helping the homeless. In my city it is not uncommon to see people standing on corners asking for donations. They sometimes stand near large stores, like Walmart or other grocery stores, so giving them a gift card to use in those stores is something I and others have done in the past. Sometimes these same people have pets with them and for this reason may be unable to check into local shelters (many shelters don't accept pets). Thank you for bringing attention to this important problem and for encouraging us to get involved.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi imtii,

      Thank you so much for your nice comment. Sincerely caring about others does make us human...I appreciate that you understand and are a kind person. It's still amazes me that I live in a country where there are homeless people and other people have so much. Thanks for taking the time to read and I will check out your hubs soon.

    • imtii profile image

      Imtiaz Ahmed 3 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      healthylife2 its really hard to find people like you today. People are becoming machines and robots only caring for themselves not for the others. We should take care of the homeless that's the thing makes us human. I really liked that you made hubpage to inspire them. Thank you. Hoping to see more.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      You have a big heart and a beautiful soul creativelycc! Inviting people to your holiday dinner is an amazing way to step up and help the homeless. If everyone was as generous as you there would not be a homeless population. Government programs are necessary but there is a lot of red tape. You are absolutely right that if everyone does a little bit to help we can make a dramatic improvement. There are so many out there like the young woman you mention in your comment and it breaks my heart. Just donating to the food pantry is an easy way to improve the situation. Thanks so much for the vote and for taking your time to leave an insightful comment. I hope to see you again soon!

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 4 years ago from Maine

      Hi healthylife2,

      God bless your son, he has a tender heart and a sensitive soul. A young lady who used to live up here in Northern Maine called me today from Michigan and asked me to pray for her. She said that she fell on hard times when she left Maine last summer and is now homeless. She is waiting on to receive SSI benefits due to her seizure disorder and has been sleeping either in her car at night or in a homeless shelter when they have the room. After I spoke to her I began an internet search on homeless shelters in Michigan; and like she said many have a waiting list. When she was in Maine last year she had a job at Walmart and shared an apartment with a roommate. My husband and I help her at times with meals and car expenses, but she chose to leave and move back to Michigan.

      We see a large population of homeless people come to Northern Maine from other states in the summer for help. Last year many families camped near the river. My husband and I invite homeless people to our holiday dinners after church service; and those are some of the most meaningful times we have. Last Easter a young homeless 19 year old we invited, humbly asked my husband if he could bring some food back to the shelter with him. We let him take as much as he wanted. We had the same young man back this Easter too, who is now living with a friend.

      The homeless situation is getting worse. Northern Maine is trying to do everything possible to help by offering subsidized housing programs and Section 8 vouchers. We have food drives and food pantries. If everyone gives a little to someone in need, I truly believe we could wipe out hunger and build enough homes for the homeless.

      Thank you for another excellent hub. Voted up.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you stephanieb27! I hope this inspired people to try a few of the suggestions. If enough people do a little bit their combined efforts will make a big difference. Thanks for stopping by!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Great hub! You offered several useful suggestions and resources! :)

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Green Art...In the final analysis all that stuff means so little. We are just conditioned in this society to think the more stuff we acquire the happier we will be. It's scary but true that any of us could end up homeless and it is easy for every person to do something to help those that are in that situation right now. Thank you so much for the support,comment, and vote!

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 4 years ago

      Helping other people in this life is so much more important than acquiring stuff. Anyone of us could be homeless tomorrow and I truly hope someone out there will open their heart to help. Excellent Hub! Voted Up and Useful:)

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @valerie...It's great that you take the time to help those that are homeless as a result of substance abuse. There are so many contributory factors to becoming homeless. We are all really one step away and if we all did something to help the situation could be greatly improved. Thanks so much for taking your time to read and comment!

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 4 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Hi Nell, haven't talked to or heard from you in ages, but haven't forgotten you either. Have been back into substance abuse counseling for going on three years now, and just finished the editing, about to publish my first novel. It is a story of one woman's journey into the chaotic world of meth addiction and back again. The hub on homelessness rings true for many of my clients, though most are not as accomplished as the homeless black man on the video. In today's world, the slightest slip up could land you in a shelter or worse, out on the streets and in the cold.

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 4 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Very thought provoking article. Most of what I have done is through counseling and writing, but I haven't done nearly enough.

    • f_hruz profile image

      f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      @ healthylife - thanks so much for your kind reply.

      The required structural changes can only be made from the ground up by people who can organize these poor masses to stand up and stop all this military wast, stop big business from taking good jobs to where they can make larger profits, stop waiting for things to change by it self and start organizing revolutionary grass roots co-operatives from the local libraries, all the way to the white house ...

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @f hruz..Thanks so much for commenting and sharing that link. Those statistics are shocking and "the working poor" is so descriptive. People that work so hard should not have to struggle just to have the basics and a little more than half of the children in our country are living in low or poverty level situations. Something is very wrong with this picture. I will continue to do my part while I am waiting for big changes to happen. Thank you so much for your valuable contribution to this issue.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi Nell! The poverty situation seems to have reached an all time high.It's just hard to comprehend people sleeping on the street while others own multiple homes. It sounds like the problem is just as serious in England. I agree that if the resources aren't available to help everyone it doesn't make sense to continue to increase the population without a plan in place to help.Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and I really appreciate you sharing this!

    • f_hruz profile image

      f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      It's a MAJOR problem, you are right! Here are more amazing stats in this report here ... http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=63755

      Political awareness is very low and class struggle non existent in the US ... maybe it's time to get the proletariat organized?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Y6Ql0dCGWE...

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, this was fascinating, to think that so many live in poverty is heartbreaking, this is such a great hub and tells the truth of how it is, over here in England we have so many people on the streets in london, and yet the government allows thousands of immigrants each year to come in. it makes no sense, voted up and shared, nell

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @GoldenThreadPress..Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm sure illiteracy is a contributory factor in this country. I agree that we all need to do something. It's amazing that we haven't solved the poverty issue after all this time and the problem only seems to be getting worse. While we are waiting for government programs to kick in we can all do our part and at least make an improvement. Thanks so much for reading this and your nice comment.I will definitely check out your hub! Happy New Year!

    • profile image

      GoldenThreadPress 4 years ago

      I found this article fascinating, not only for your in depth coverage but because of the statistics. I wrote a hub about ending poverty but the cause in Third World Countries is due in part to the lack of literacy. The U.S. has its share of illiterate citizens, too, which may be adding to these poverty numbers. Regardless, we need to do something. Let it start with me! Voted Up! Best Regards!--Deb

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi midget38! If everyone takes the time to do a little to help it can lead to a big change. I hope this inspired people to help so many that are living in poverty. Thanks so much for your kind comment and for sharing:)

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi dwachira! So many people here don't realize what true poverty is. 30% is a huge percentage! I wish people all over the world would come together and allocate our resources so there is no more poverty. I know that's not realistic but there is so much that each individual can do to at least improve the situation. Nice to see you and thanks so much for the vote!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Great, constructive suggestions about ending poverty. It is a problem in every nation, only the degree of it being relative. In whatever small way we can, help in whatever way possible. Thanks for sharing! I am passing this on.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi healthylife2,

      I live in a country where finding a three part meal in day is a problem for almost 30% of population, you will see people struggling to feed themselves to point that they commit terrible deeds. Poverty is such a disheartening situation but does it mean the world cannot live without poverty? personally i don't believe that. Voted up and useful.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks so much for coming back and taking the time to add this valuable information. There are so many issues with links such as when they are broken if the site is gone at some point or if they are viewed as not going to an approved place. Your links probably would have been fine but I'm not technical enough to be sure so this is much better. I really appreciate you adding this because I did want readers to have access to the information you added when they read this hub. Thanks again and I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      It's good, I think, that you deleted the comment I made that included several links relevant to the topic. After reading some HubPages forums and questions and answers, I know now not to put links in comments to another hubber's hub, even if the links are timely and are not self-promotional, because doing so imposes on that hubber the unfair burden of responsibility that each link is to a harmless site.

      What I will do is give Google search words, so that anyone interested can follow them to information relevant to points I made in my original comment.

      About fresh produce for food banks, google on: "Backyard Harvest" Moscow Idaho

      About Santa Fe's minimum wage being a living wage, google on: "Santa Fe" "minimum wage" "living wage ordinance"

      Note that other communities, such as Albuquerque, have followed Santa Fe's example. For more info on a living wage, google on: "living wage calculator"

      About taxpayers subsidizing corporation profits, search YouTube on: "Jessica English" "We the Taxpayers Subsidize Corporations So Their Employees Can Eat"

      About increased awareness bringing a more compassionate and savvy attitude, search YouTube on: "Jessica English" "From GOP Chair to Advocate For the Poor" coffeepartyusa

      Like St. Paul says, everyone has some talent and can do their little bit to help. Jessica English has a gift for gab, so, on top of scrapping together a living and raising her little children, she is hosting an interview show on blogtalkradio. Others are writing hubs and hub comments. Others are volunteering a couple of hours per month distributing food at a local food bank. Others....

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @charlynjune...There still are so many experiencing poverty despite the fact that there are available resources that could be allocated a little differently. Although an individual can't solve the entire problem poverty would be diminished if everyone did something to make an impact. Small things add up to big things. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I hope to see you again:)

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @B. Leekley...I deleted the comment because there are so many rules regarding links and I'm not technical at all so I try to just avoid having them to be safe. It might trigger the broken link warning but I really do appreciate the helpful information:)

    • charlynjune profile image

      Charlyn June 4 years ago from Philippines

      You are right when you say, there are still other people out there who are carrying heavier burdens than those that we have..

      I feel really sad thinking that large numbers of the world population are experiencing poverty. Thanks for posting suggestions on how to help fight poverty.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Re may last comment with what I thought would be unlive links, I see that the system made the beginning h t t p ... w w w part of each into a live link that goes nowhere.

      If you can remove the comment, do so if you think best, and let me know, and I will post a comment recommending Google search terms instead of giving URLs.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks for taking the time to post some valuable links on the topic to expand further on your previous comments B. Leekley. I hope it's OK to post them as long as they are unlive. I'm going to approve this comment because this is valuable information on the topic. I really appreciate that you took the time to share this information.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      It makes my day to know I inspire anyone even if it is to write a hub Kenja:) I'm on the way to check out your hub! B. Leekley makes a great point and I never viewed it from that perspective. I hope minimum wage is raised so people can actually survive on it.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @B. Leekley...Thanks for sharing the story about your relative. Too many people stereotype those that are struggling as lazy or irresponsible when the reality is that it can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons. I also appreciate that you shared activities that you participate in through your church to help those in need. I really like the idea of people donating fresh fruits and vegetables from their own garden to the food pantry because they are healthier than canned goods and often taste better. Very interesting perspective about subsidizing corporations because they don't want to raise minimum wage. I would love to see it raised so that people that work full time could actually survive on the salary they make. The cost of living is so high near me but I can't imagine that anyone could really survive on minimum wage anywhere in this country.Thank you so much for taking the time to read and offer your valuable comment and I really appreciate you sharing this!

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Mr. Leekley is so right on it's amazing... We citizens do in fact wind up subsidizing big companies who can and should pay a living wage.

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hey CloudExplorer! Bill is such a great motivator and role model and I hope all these great hubs written in support of the H.O.W. movement make a difference.You make such an interesting point that maybe people are wealthy because of the actions of everyone else even if they are completely unaware of it. It would be tempting to just stop spending but you are right we don't need the system to totally collapse but need much more of a balance.During the last few years when my financial situation changed I was forced to look at my own less than impressive spending habits and am working to change it so my children can learn from example. I also agree that the educational system has to be improved to really see change. Thanks so much for stopping by and I always love and appreciate your comments!

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Your hub, and my response to it, inspired my newest hub, just posted.

      I mean, what's more important than the health, productivity and well being of our citizens, and the future of our nation and our children?

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      It is so inspiring that you are going to work in a soup kitchen and make a difference Brett! I do agree that life is not fair and that the rich will always have the power but I also believe that the situation can change somewhat so it is at least more equitable.By easing the journey you give a person the opportunity to make a permanent big change. I so much appreciate your comment,share, pin, and tweet and continued support:)

    • healthylife2 profile image
      Author

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I so much appreciate your very insightful comment Kenja because people often read the comments as well so I like it when people take the time to add value to the discussion. I couldn't agree more that the gap between the wealthy and the rest of the country is bigger than ever. I also agree that it is impossible to truly feel free when struggling financially and the problem has gone way beyond the little debates between the conservatives and liberals and it is definitely time to join forces and resolve the problem. You brought up so many amazing points and yes things will never improve if the government does not allocate it's resources in a way that will actually help. My children will one day step into the job market and I want them to have a future and agree that there have to be improvements in education and more training so people can actually get jobs and improve their own situation. We also have to help the millions that are currently unemployed and eager to work. There has to be a big shift in priorities. Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. I hope to see you again!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites. Good points and good suggestions.

      Yes, awareness makes a huge difference. An in-law relation in his early 50s with a small business management position was for decades a staunchly conservative Republican with an attitude that the poor are poor because of their character flaws. (That is, to be sure, a significant factor. In my working life through the decades, my income was directly related to how much on the job responsibility I had the maturity and confidence to handle.) Then he got active in the social concerns committee of his Catholic parish. When he got to know poor families as persons and their actual circumstances, his attitude little by little changed away from extreme individualism to a more balanced and empathetic viewpoint, and he became politically an Independent.

      Doing things to help the poor as individuals and families is very good. Even better is uniting with others -- which is what the HOW hubs series is doing. Other examples: The church I attend has a monthly generosity Sunday. All loose bills and change and all checks with "generosity Sunday" in the memo line goes to an effective and in need local charity. ; some years ago a woman in Latah County, Idaho, got the bright idea called Backyard Harvest. It was just a matter of pitching her idea and getting volunteers organized. The result is piles of fresh produce from backyard vegetable gardens and fruit trees going to food banks. When I lived there, I volunteered at a food bank, and it was great to be able to offer fresh, just picked foods along with canned and packaged foods.

      One government action to insist upon is to raise the minimum wage to the level of being a bare living wage, pegged to a standard. Communities that have done this are doing very well. When companies rob employees by paying less than a bare living wage, taxpayers make up the difference with programs like food stamps. Taxpayers are subsidizing the profits of corporations.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 4 years ago from New York City

      Powerful HOW hub and many folks worldwide should locate it I hope and adhere to at least thinking about all that you have written, take effective actions to change themselves as suggested here, and also maybe even give those other H.O.W. hubs a try that you linked to it. Thanks to Bill this movement has been a mere spark, lets hope it works right!

      Humanity has always needed to change for the better and has done so slowly but surely then comes big government and we topple over again.

      The fact is as you pointed out here in this hub, many people in this world are greedy, many aren't the issue though most of us don't realize is that even us 99% non-rich folks need to change out additudes and ways of life for sure, because the rich are only rich because we make them that way.

      We purchase all of the products on the shelves, pay for the college educations to get those lucrative careers, and we are the ones who pay all the taxes as well.

      Imagine if none of us did any of that just for a single day simultaneously, the entire system would collapse. No one wants that to occur and definitely not because we decided to either go on strike or not spend a thing ever.

      Balance is the key to true change, and when the economy does indeed get back in order a newer education system or totally revamped form of education needs to be churned out, because our children is where the problem lies, they fester a great deal of all of our mistakes, and social ills.

      As we continue to pass down to them as parents so much of the bad habits we never learned to correct (It's a continuous cycle living in a modernized system), or grow out of due to living such a commercialized lifestyle, and so complacent as well.

      Overall thanks for this awesome hub here, you truly struck on many instrumental issues for sure, and where they all needed to be addressed.

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      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      I found this interesting, as after this contract, I plan to do some work in a soup kitchen for a while. So many are poor and living in terrible conditions. However, unfortunately life and nature is not fair and not equal. The situation will never change, the rich/strong will always hold the power ... an unfortunate side of life and nature. However, that doesn't mean that everyone can't try to ease things for others along their life journey ;-).

      Shared, up, interesting, pinned and tweeted.

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      THE PROBLEM of course is that conservatives keep saying: get out of our way, reduce taxes and regulation, and we'll grow businesses and employ millions more people. Which is what happened the past 30 years, and now the richer are much richer; we pay historically low taxes; the gap between boss and worker, the rich and the rest is wider, more like the 19th century robber baron days than the 21st century.

      In fact, there is more social mobility in "old Europe" than here in Horatio Alger's America. On the other hand...

      Liberals thinking that more government can solve social problems hasn't worked out too well, has it? The Department of Education keeps growing and scores keep going lower. Investments in green energy haven't turned up much financial green these past 4 and 20 years, have they? The list is long (and yes, we still need FEMA, the FDA, and the Dept of Agriculture, and more).

      The problem, really, is the same old, tired, false and outdated thinking by BOTH Liberals & Conservatives. Otherwise, why would our problems persist?

      AND WHY IS IT that we have all this money for foreign wars, foreign aid, foreign intervention, and the world's largest military times ten -- but virtually no money for R&D, the much needed retraining of America workers, better math & science teachers nationwide, roads, bridges & infrastructure, and sensible college loans for our young people, as in anyone who wishes to go to college?

      The answer is that -- even if we keep taxes low, reduce regulation and cut some federal departments -- the vast amount of money the US government takes in still... has... to... be... spent... wisely. And spending wisely was not something done, for the most part, under either Reagan or Clinton, W. or Obama (and only slightly better by Bush the elder). The money we waste is tragic; the money we spend overseas obscene; the money we DON'T spend on human capital, training, and higher education foolish, counterproductive, and perpetually short-sighted.

      Forget the old "Socialist" bugerboo. It's old, foolish and largely false. Go visit Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium, and see how well they train their workers; how well they educate their youth; how intelligently they take care of the sick; how they continually invest in cites and infrastructure; how well the average person lives there -- and how vibrant their businesses and their democracies remain. The Big Lie, told loudly and often, is that they have less freedom than we do.

      But the 20% of Americans who are poor and hungry, and the over 20 million out of work, and the countless millions who can't climb the social and economic ladder like our parents or grandparents did -- tell me, how free are they?

      The thing is, whether the federal government is 17% or 20% of GDP, that's scarcely the issue, the issue is: how well do we spend & invest the money we take in as a nation? And the answer is, for the most part, piss poorly, other than with defense (minus 10%), the CDC, the FDA and FEMA. The proof is in the pudding -- simply look at the state of our nation.

      Americans invest rather poorly in their own country. Period. We are, whether conservative or liberal, poor stewards of our national ship, and of our children's future. So while conservatives and liberals sing the same old songs, the country's bridges are rusting, our children are hungry, test scores fall, and the middle class is in very serious trouble.

      Stop arguing, start fixing the problems.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @midget38..It takes such a minimal commitment to do one thing to help others. If we all did one little thing like donate food or clothes or gave a little time in a homeless shelter we would make a big difference. Thanks for your kind comment and for sharing this information:)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for these constructive suggestions, Healthylife2. These are the things we all can do if we want to end poverty! Thanks for sharing!Will pass your suggestions along!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Louisa...You make a great point. Education is vital to changing someone's economic situation and making them self sufficient. Sometimes people realize this as an adult and after they have a family to support. I think girls definitely need the education so they can get a job that enables them to support themselves and contribute to the support of the family.So interesting that not only is it good for self esteem but that it has been proven to reduce poverty. My son learned so much and collected many items for a homeless shelter. I think it made a big impact and I hope he always remembers this lesson and helps others when he is an adult. Thank you so much for your insightful comment and kind words. I will tell my son when he gets home that he has a fan and I guarantee he will smile:)

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @onetouchnewlife...I Agree with you that just throwing out money will accomplish absolutely nothing without a long term plan. The reality is that right now there aren't enough jobs and it's completely impossible for people making minimum wage to support a family when they have to pay for food,clothes, and shelter and often childcare. I think there should be programs to provide free childcare and education so these people can change their situation. I also think it's important to help those that are currently unemployed until they find a job rather than let families end up homeless. People should not have to live on the street in his country or anywhere. The long term goal is to provide everyone with a job and a way to be self sufficient but we have a long way to go. I think those that are financially able should help out a little and it won't impact their own situation but could make a big difference for someone that is struggling. I've seen the sense of entitlement among the wealthy but have never seen that mentality among people that are poor. They seem to know that things are not just handed to them. Thank so much for your insight!

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you so much for understanding my intent tammyswallow. I hope this inspires each person to make just one small gesture and it would add up to a big difference. Thank you for your support and kind words!

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      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      The story of your son is in my opinion, the answer: education, and maybe especially education of girls. Not that I mean to discriminate against males at all, but throughout the world, it is the education of girls that has shown to increase living standards and reduce poverty. Bravo to your son for choosing this project and educating his classmates! Please tell him he has a fan here.

    • onetouchnewlife profile image

      Albert Kivak 4 years ago from Cemetary

      I agree with Lions Den. Throwing money at the segment of poor society do not solve problems. Giving them an opportunity to work will. Providing entitlement further exacerbates the situation, creating a lazy generation, and a me-me-me I deserve this mentality.

      Why is America in 16 trillion dollar debt? Think about it. It's not cause rich people do not share their money.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Excellent suggestions! If every person made the smallest gesture, it would make a world of difference. Well done!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @HoneyBB...It was a great lesson and his class enjoyed touring one of the homeless shelters and meeting some of the residents that were funny and very kind despite their challenges. I hope my neighbors learned something also from this but can't be sure. Thanks so much for your comment and vote!

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi Lastheart! I'm so proud to be part of H.O.W. and hope it leads to more compassion towards others. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and comment!

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Excellent article and great lesson for your son and your neighbors to learn. Voted +++

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borik√©n the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      healthylife2 I am so happy to read all these hubs, responding the call of our friend Billy! Many blessings! Great hub!

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks so much for the kind words Ruchira! I wanted to come up with a few ways to help that require minimal time and money so many people can help regardless of their own situations. I too hope it makes a difference:)

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      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      This is a brilliant hub. I loved it to the core of my heart because it has some useful ways to do the needful.

      Voted up as awesome and useful.

      Hope people benefit out of it...cheers!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi Rajan! It's impossible for me to just ignore the homeless people I see when I go to New York City. It's sad that there are people living in poverty all over the world and I hope that everyone will choose to do one thing to help one person. Thanks so much for sharing and continuing to support my efforts here! I do appreciate it!

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      An awesome hub! Poverty is the bane of our society and the cause of many ills that we are exposed to.

      You have highlighted some very useful ways one can help those less priviledged. This is a very powerfully written hub and I'm sharing it on FB, G+1 and tweeting.

      Voted all the way up and across except one.

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      So happy the H.O.W. movement is already gaining momentum!! Rock on bravewarrior!

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I've got FB friends outside the HP cirlce already circulating the hub I posted. It's only been a few days and already the momentum is building outside our circle. There is hope and it's spelled w-e-t-h-e-p-e-o-p-l-e!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @bravewarrior..Thank you so much for your kind words! I really hope that people step up and help those that are in the midst of a financial struggle and stop running away from reality. Bill is such an inspiration and there are so many sincerely kind people eager to join him.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      healthylife, with words such as yours, the message is bound to be heard. What a crusader our beloved Bill is and what a kind-hearted bunch he has as his army. Let's spread the word and do our part in ending the atrocities that are brought upon the people of the world!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Conservative Lady...Killjoys keep me interested-LOL. I couldn't agree more that handouts alone won't make a dent on the poverty situation and that's why I think there should be more help from individuals and government programs to enable people to further their education so they can get better jobs and improve their situation. Like you my husband grew up with very little money and went on to get a PHD in Physics and a good job. However sometimes people realize this later in life and it's not possible to get further education when they have the responsibility of children and can't afford to quit their job. Others lose jobs due to layoffs especially now and need financial help until they can secure a new job. I also don't dent that there are people that take advantage of government programs and there should be better screening. I just think people could help a little more than they do so the homeless can get past the difficult time and ultimately change their situation.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Lions Den Media...I really appreciate your perspective and very well thought out comment. I don't want to see the rich or anyone else suffer. I just think that if the very rich paid a little more in taxes there would be a marginal impact and they might only be able to have three vacation homes instead of four but it would make a big difference to those in poverty.

      My focus is on the individual helping others that are currently living in poverty in a small way rather than waiting for government programs to be created with all the red tape. For example, more people than ever rely on food pantries but donations are at an all time low. If everyone donated two items a week it would make a difference.

      I completely agree that the best thing you can give someone that is homeless is a job to permanently change their situation. However, while they are in the process of finding a job I believe that we should offer them support so their families don't starve while they are in the middle of the process.

      I do disagree that healthcare and education are equally available to everyone. Do you really think the single mother working three jobs to support her children can invest the time and find the money to go to college to improve her situation in the long run or the parents that have to feed their family? There are many without healthcare because their jobs don't offer it or they are unemployed and they are ill because they can't afford care so looking for a job or working is unrealistic.

      When people are completely beaten down and hanging on by a thread sometimes they need temporary help and support by individuals and government programs. I agree that the ultimate goal is to find jobs for the homeless but I think it is a little naïve on your part to think that is all there is to solving the problem. Education,economic backgrounds, and human emotions have to be factored in.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @always exploring...People can always give time and sometimes that is everything to those in need. Thank so much for stopping by!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @btrbell...The video shows this situation can really happen to anyone even with a good education. Thank you so much for reading this and your kind words. I will definitely check out your H.O.W. hub.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 4 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Great topic for a hub as we all need to figure out how to save our country from decline and poverty. I too hate to be a killjoy but Lions Den Media is right. Big Government leads to big problems. I grew up in poverty and lived most of my childhood in the Projects and on welfare. I know the way out - Hard work, education, dogged determination, self sacrifice, and more hard work. Like the Bible says - GIVE a man a fish and he eats for a day - teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime - I will add - he feeds himself for that life time - he doesn't need others to fish for him. Most (not all) of our lot in life is determined by the choices we make along the way. Those in my family who chose education, military service, or plain old hard work are the ones who made it out of poverty - those who chose to sit around saying poor me and asking for government handouts are still in the Projects living off my tax dollars. We all had the same odds but we all made our own choices.

      Interesting and thought provoking hub.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Beautiful..We can all help make life better for those in need, just give what you can, offer your time in your community. You don't have to be rich to give..

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much for this great hub! this video is so powerful and, frankly, scary! you have done a great job at presenting issues with solutions. Up+ and linking to mine!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Irc7815..Thank you so much for the kind words! .I always feel if I'm going to address a problem I have to make some attempt to come up with a proposal to resolve it. I agree that sometimes it is difficult to know how to help others and it can feel awkward. I hope this gives people a few ideas and everyone can do one thing that helps someone in a practical way. I do believe change is always possible and one person can make a difference. Thanks so much for your visit!

    • Lions Den Media profile image

      Lions Den Media 4 years ago

      I hate being a kill joy here in the sea of liberal relativism, but in all seriousness - perhaps the problem is government creating these problems and then providing alleged solutions via expanding entitlement programs, thereby creating a continuously impoverished segment of society. Otherwise, Why is a man with 2 Masters degrees unemployed? Why are businesses cutting hours? You mention a 5% sales tax on a BMW - they tried a "luxury tax" under Clinton it failed because it brought in ZERO additional dollars of revenue. Every issue mentioned is a result of a government policy - and your solution is adding yet another layer of government policies on top of those which clearly are ineffective in solving the root problem.

      Liberals always act as though raising taxes on the rich raises the quality of life of others less fortunate, when in reality taxes simply ensure the equality of misery.

      You people focus on bringing everyone down, instead of providing opportunity to excel. Greatness has never been achieved because of a government program. You speak glowingly, though naively, about "ways to live a simpler, more frugal life" as if my or anyone's living "simpler" whatever that means - translates into someone else living better. It is childishly naïve to believe such rubbish.

      The reality of life is that in 1965 when President Johnson declared yet another war - this time on poverty - the poverty level was nearly exactly what it is under Obama. And this pathetic failure of endless government spending policies has only been successful at spending more money on a failed programs.

      As for the world being such a different place if only in America "health and education opportunities were equally available for everyone" is completely devoid of commonsense. Please someone explain in what country there is greater equality of "OPPORTUNITY". Far too many Americans seem to be equating opportunity with outcome. The only guaranteed outcome in life is death. But should there exists another country with such guaranteed outcomes abound - then seek out that portrait of paradise.

      Though there are instances where homeless is a matter of short term circumstance - these situations can be affected by efforts of donating time, money, food etc. However, for those chronically homeless changing that requires a change in the mindset of the homeless. There is nothing one can do other than contribute to their disease, whatever that may be.

      But also let us be realistic in that one reason for perpetual poverty is a continued influx of the impoverished. The point is in the US poverty is not a terminal condition. In the end, poverty is affected by the desire of the individual to seek better opportunities. The best thing someone in poverty can receive is a Job.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Kashmir56...Poverty does seem to be getting worse instead of better. There are so many more ideas to try before ever giving up. Each person can help in some small way and make a big difference. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks so much for the kind words Deborah! Bill came up with a great idea and I really enjoyed thinking about this issue and writing this.I hope it inspired others to contribute to a positive change in some small way.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @safiq ali patel...Thanks for leaving such an insightful comment. I agree that the definition of poverty varies between nations and even within the United states. I'm definitely vacation poor and in need of changing that! I agree with everything you say and yes we have a very long way to go to completely eliminate poverty in the world. However any progress is so nice to see. Thanks so much for your visit and I hope to see you again!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      What a great hub. I love ti when I read a hub that not only discusses a problem but also provides options for creating change. This is packed full of great resources. Many times we encounter someone with a problem and we don't know how to help them. This is one more way that this HOW concept can help. Everyone who reads this will not be able to add more resources to their mental arsenal and when the time comes, can extract from it the very resource needed to help someone. Great job!

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you eHealer! It was a great experience for my son and he liked that one of the residents in the homeless shelter made him laugh and gave everyone high fives. I'm glad he learned that people can have a great attitude even when facing obstacles. We would live in such a different place if health and education opportunities were equally available to everyone.Thanks so much for your kind comment and I really appreciate the share!!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Beautifully written hub on a very serious and important topic that seem to be growing worse. Well done !

      Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Wonderful hub. Everyone are doing great jobs at these H.OW hubs .. great information here

      Debbie .

    • safiq ali patel profile image

      safiq ali patel 4 years ago from United States Of America

      We the human race has lived with poverty for too long. It would like to see the word evolve so that one day everyone can have a home, quality food, clothing in good amounts and the right to a meaningful rewarding life.

      Poverty means different things from nation to nation. Some people are water poor that they do not have enough water. Some people are cash poor in that they do not have enough cash. Some people are energy poor that they do no have access to the fuel they need to cook or travel. In fact I rather feel now that poverty in some way touches all our lives. We have a long way to go before our world wipes out every form of poverty off every corner of the earth.

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @SilverGenes...I think society would be a much better place and there would be much less crime if there was more economic equality and less stress. I couldn't agree with you more that being alive on earth is the only requirement for one to expect respect and dignity. I will check out your hub and link it to mine also. Thanks so much for the visit and I hope to see you again!

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey Healthylife2, very inspirational hub and very interesting. Your son did a great job and seems he had learned a lot. Poverty is a social issue that needs a village to fix it. The problem stems from not making education, health, and opportunities available to all. Great hub and shared!

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      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      Excellent hub! Poverty is a very real problem and the results of such inequity are not good for all of society. I'm one of those people that believes if you are alive on this earth, you have the right to respect and dignity. I'm linking this to my hub, too!

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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks so much Bill!! Your feedback and continued support really means a lot to me! Although I hope this makes others think it also made me think and inspired me to help more. I will also link your article to mine.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bravo my friend! I thank you from the bottom of my heart; you have shown the size of your heart in writing this excellent hub. I will share on Facebook, and before the day ends I will get this linked to my HOW hub.

      I truly appreciate you writing this.