I think it is important for people to learn how to take care of themselves. I’m concerned with the number of agencies that just seem to rescue people. This is the “give a man a fish” mentality, versus “teach a man to fish.” If we give to them, but don’t teach them how to provide for themselves, then they will simply have to come back for more help from us. They become dependent rather than independent. By not empowering people, we are making ourselves feel needed indefinitely. This is not true help.
While I support the idea of services such as Second Harvest and Room in the Inn for alleviating the symptoms of poverty and homelessness, I wonder if there isn’t more that can be done. Why are we addressing the symptoms and not the cause? Why are we catching people when they fall off the cliff and not when they are moving near it? It also takes away a person’s dignity to make them have to ask for help.
People need to be trained to provide for themselves. They need access to health care. They need education. They need job counseling and classes to improve their job skills. They need to learn how to take care of their children so they won’t continue the cycle of poverty. Even more, they need to develop a plan to not have children if they can’t afford them. Nothing deepens poverty like having children.