Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poverty and Philanthropy

Philanthropy is a good supplement to government money that supports poor people. Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food banks, and other government run programs that aid the homeless and poor benefit greatly from donations through charities. The government does not give enough money to these programs for them to actually change poor people’s lives. The government gives just enough money to keep the programs running and allow the poor people to survive. At a soup kitchen or a food bank, for example, there is not always enough government supplied money for everyone who needs food to be supplied with what they need. This is where charities come in and supply the extra money these programs need to truly help every poor person. Poverty is a terrible thing and everything should be done to help reduce the amount of poor people in the United States and throughout the world. I think it’s a great thing that people are generous enough to give back to people who need help. There needs to be more people who are this generous. Philanthropies and charities are great things because they do help the poor. Extra money from charities that supplements government funds that then goes to buying more food or clothing for the poor is awesome. Giving money to poor people is a very generous thing to do. There are other ways to help poor people though. If you were to give a person in poverty money, most of the time they would go and buy food or pay off a bill or something of that nature, but there are poor people who would use that money to go buy drugs, alcohol, or something they really don’t need, like a flat screen television. An alternative to handing poor people money and hoping that they will use it for something good is just to buy them clothing or food in the first place and eliminate the exchange of money. That being said, I do believe that welfare is a good thing and I don’t think it should be eliminated. Most people who need welfare use the money they get in a way that benefits them. The smaller percentage of people who use their welfare money to buy stupid or illegal things should not be able to mess with the lives of others who actually need the support. The largest percentage of people on welfare only uses it for a relatively short amount of time to get back on their feet. I do believe that people can donate more than just their money though. In the long run it may help more for people to donate their time rather than large chunks of money. Going to volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or food bank and really getting to see the way people in poverty live could be an eye opening experience for most people. Talking with people who need help or playing with children who are impoverished can brighten their day and make you feel like you’ve actually made a connection with someone in need, rather than just funding their local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.


  1. After reading Sydney's blog post I am struck by how much I agree with her on this topic. I believe that it is necessary to aid the poor and that the few who waste what money they are given should not determine the aid that is given to people who truely appreciate and need wellfare. But I do believe that if our government is going to continue to hand out funds and if businesses and private benefactors are going to continue providing money to the impoverished then there should be some type of restriction on what can be purchased with the money. The simple solution to simply handing out money is already being employed by many who desire to aid those in need but do not want to risk the chance that the donations will be used to purchase alcohol or drugs. The giving of gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores, or clothing stores is already being widely encouraged in cities with high concentrations of people living below the poverty level. I also agree with Sydney that money is not the only donation that can be made in order to aid humanity. Working in soup kitchens or Co-ops can prove to be just as beneficial and requires a greater emotional attachment from the giver than simply writing a check. Working face to face and life on life with those who are less fortunate allows for mutual respect and understanding to develope. The act of giving to the poor can be a precarious one, not because of fears for personal safety or social obligations, but because in the act of giving we allow ourselves to come face to face with the realities of humanity and once we have glanced down from our ladder of indifference into the world of what could have been it is extraordinarily difficult to make the climb back up into our ivory towers.

  2. Sydney nailed philanthropy from all angles. I agree with her statements that we need to eliminate the middle man and simply donate the food and clothing rather than just money. Often times, upon recieving monetary donations on the street, these homeless people are the addicts that they are stereotyped as. In these cases, our donations are fueling their addictions. There are several organizations that are credible in sending donations to credible homeless people. I am trying to avoid sounding insensitive, but often times these organizations aren't even credible.

    I do disagree with one aspect of Sydney's entry. I think welfare is a necessary program, but it is taken advantage of by a large majority of its users. From a personal perspective, a somewhat distant family member recieves welfare. Granted he is in his sixties and has a bad knee, he still relies on this welfare check for everything. Welfare has taken the drive and competitiveness out of many Americans. They feel like they have an income with this welfare check, when in reality this check is meant to be a guide to help this person get on the right track. Moreover, I have seen many accounts of people using this welfare check as money to buy drugs. The American government needs to be more selective when it comes to who recieves these Welfare checks.