Add Long-Term Solutions To Short-Term Programs

Oct 25, 2007

Many anti-poverty and anti-hunger efforts consist of simple, short-term acts of charity, such as soup kitchens or free-food picnics. Food Not Bombs, for example, often schedules public rallies where the volunteers provide food that everyone including the homeless and poor can come and eat for free.

Feeding a person a meal will fend off their hunger today, but it fails to provide a permanent solution. Obviously, people need their immediate needs met, or else they will not survive to ever escape poverty. For example, 18,000 children die every day from hunger.

Unfortunately, feeding them a meal will not solve the problem. If we feed each of those 18,000 children a meal today, we will then have 36,000 children starving tomorrow.

We need to include long-term solutions with our short-term efforts. The short-term efforts need to fulfill people’s immediate needs while simultaneously the long-term efforts help the people permanently escape poverty.

People can escape poverty through education and employment or business ownership. (The business owners often then provide more jobs for the others.) To permanently escape poverty, people need to get enough education that they can get a job (or start a business) that earns them enough income to afford food, clothes, shelter and healthcare, and also enough to pay off their student loans as well as secure their retirement. In places without socialized unemployment insurance, the person also must earn enough to pay for that.

We have a long way to go, considering that even in the United States millions of college graduates live in poverty, millions of employed people live in poverty, and millions of children do not have enough to eat let alone have sufficient education.

Anyway, we can start by making sure soup kitchens, food rallies, and such also include long-term help such as job-training, education help, job fairs, and such.

You can help suggest ways to provide permanent solutions for poverty in the Hunger and Poverty Forums. It’s completely free, and all viewpoints are welcome.

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Children suffering from Poverty