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How to Help the Homeless and Hungry

Updated on September 27, 2018
pinto2011 profile image

I have worked extensively with a charitable organization visiting on ground zero and realizing the utilities of programs.

Can he get a home and food with dignity?


Starvation, Dearth of food or Lack of Money?

Irony is about one-fourth the world is starving at any given point of time. Problem is not food. But then what?

Every country has devised its own ways of addressing this issue. This inhuman issue. Someone has plenty. Someone has nothing to put in his or her mouth.

Africa and Asia, are the two continents where most of the malnourished reside. We often see in our newspapers, kids with stunted growth, emaciated features, thinned out bones and so on. These are heart-wrenching pictures. These pics often question our redundancy. They provoke us to act. Many non-profit non-governmental and governmental organizations are formed to solve the issue, but in vain. Billions of dollars are pumped in but they are only able to provide masking Band-Aid Solutions. The larger issue underneath has remained smoldering.

Country wise, our country has picked up a scheme to eradicate poverty is MGNREGA or Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act. This act is to ensure that a poor man residing in the villages and no other means of livelihood will get guaranteed employment for a certain period along with time-bound payment. It has touched the issue well, but it also is unable to eradicate it. Poor are still starving every now and then.

Similarly, in Saleh, Africa, due to starvation, several food camps were set up there. Even with free food, it was unable to solve the issue. Hunger and starvation was still evident and a burning issue there.

Is there is real shortage of food?

The answer is a clear no. The world produces enough to feed a few more extra billion people. Every year innumerable tons of food gets perished due to several trivial reasons. So if we produce so much calories and still starving, then we need to have some serious thinking about this issue. At least someone should not die of food when tons of it is decaying.

Several leading economists like Amartya Sen have often addressed this issue from a different angle. They clearly say that there is no scarcity of food, but scarcity of money. So, put money in those hands who are starving and see traders will go there and sell them food. There will be no starvation. But putting money in those hands is no easy task. You need to devise a proper methodology to do so or else the plan will fell flat. You need a long-term solution and not a year or two for solution.

Ways to Treat Hunger

There are two methods to put money in the starving hands and both have their own pros and cons. One is labor intensive and the other is capital intensive. One is direct method of putting money and the other is indirect method.

First is the labor-intensive method, countries like India have put their schemes into action, like MGNREGA. Here the government directly put money into the hands of poor people by providing them job for a certain period of time. Thus, they buy food directly with that money. The problem is that the kind of job they made to do are not creating great assets. They are building either temporary structures or structures with no relevance. They are not creating a self-sustenance model. The moment government stops funding, they will spring back to poverty.

In the second capital intensive method, i.e., instead of putting alms in hands of the needy, teach them how to generate it with dignity. In this model, social thinkers, engineers, architect, educationist, doctors, bankers, and all stakeholders are consulted to create a self-sustenance model. Say for 10-15 years, government will keep pouring money in such schemes. After this phase, the structures created will generate enough employment and revenue to support the model. This kind of model is absolute necessity of time, as no form of government can assure lifelong support for a large section of the society. Also, this model boosts self-esteem. People instead of depending on outside funds for livelihood, they themselves know meaningful ways of employment. They can now spread it to other parts by repeating the model.

Those who were once dependent on state are now providers and productive subjects of the state. They have claimed dignity and productivity.

Don't stitch there clothes forever. Provide sewing machines and teach them to stitch.


What Would You Do?

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    • pinto2011 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Your views are simply superb! What more one could ask for? Of course, if we all need to be more responsible.

      I wish we could stop the emaciated and malnourished sites of millions of children by not duplicating ourselves when we are not in a position to take care of.

    • pinto2011 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great to go through your well informed views. Indeed, its education which bridges the mammoth gap between haves and have not. There is certainly no other way. So, any Band-Aid shrewd face-saver tactic will not work. For a robust society, a robust education infrastructure is must.

    • pinto2011 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for stopping by and giving it your approval.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      12 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I'm very poor. I'm not complaining. I have always known I'm not an especially responsible person, and so I made certain to not produce a child.

      The same sense of responsibility is sorely lacking in persons in many places of the world where there is hunger. They just breed and breed, as if they aren't aware of how they can barely feed themselves - much less their offspring.

      I take the view that I am only responsible to provide help to persons in my community. I can do absolutely nothing for persons thousands of miles away, or even a hundred miles away.

      Anyone who needs to eat locally, now there is someone I can always feed. Also, if someone were of a similar size, I could always provide some clothing.

      I lived in a ministry for a couple years, years ago. Food banks always need volunteers to help sort things into proper boxes for distribution. That's a worthy and charitable bit of labor to be proud of.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      12 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "They are building either temporary structures or structures with no relevance. They are not creating a self-sustenance model." - You made a good point here. Investments should be made in such a way that people will be able to eventually be "self-sustainable", without grants, loans, or help from NGOs, etc.

      I know that microcredit has helped a little bit in South-east Asia but in my opinion education is what would help best. Educated people tend to make better decisions than those without education. The opportunities available grow as our level of education grows. The same goes for income: more education, the higher the income can be.

      This is a very important topic. Thank You for writing about it.

      All the best!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      12 months ago from USA

      I liked how you stepped through the alternatives.


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