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Charity During Hard Times, by Grandpappy

Hard times usually result in an overwhelming number of people who:
1. Do not have a job of any kind, and
2. Have no steady income from any source, and
3. Are usually either homeless or are living with close relatives.

During hard times these individuals need almost everything, including food, shelter, clothing, and basic medical care. During really hard times the large and growing number of homeless individuals greatly exceeds the carrying capacity of the local community in terms of voluntary charitable donations. There are just not enough homeless shelters and free food/soup kitchens that provide one meal per day to accommodate everyone. To survive during hard times these homeless individuals must choose between becoming thieves or beggars or both.
Therefore, during hard times the crime rate increases significantly. Since God was expelled from our school systems and our work places many decades ago, there are now a large number of people who have little or no respect for any type of authority, or for the rights of anyone other than themselves. These individuals do not evaluate their actions on any moral or ethical principles other than whether or not their action results in an improvement in their own personal welfare.

As our current hard times tragedy continues to unfold, any family that still has a home that contains a wage earner will quickly learn that if they are going to continue to survive they must not make themselves an obvious or easy target for thieves or a target for a continuous stream of beggars.

Each individual family will need to make their own decision on whether or not they can afford to be charitable. Some families are already in such serious financial difficulty that they are barely able to meet their own basic survival needs and charity is simply not an option. Other families may be a little better off and they may be able to afford a little charity every now and then. The difficulty is that homeless families do not need help every now and then; they need it continuously.

If a person or family makes the decision to dispense charity directly from their home or apartment, then they may experience the following problems:
1. Having anyone and everyone knocking on your door at any time of the day or night.
2. Receiving verbal abuse, or something worse, when you honestly have no charity to give away at the current time.
3. Experiencing the occasional angry face-to-face confrontation with an individual or family that is not grateful for what you do offer to give to them, and they accuse you of being able to give more and they demand that you do so or suffer the consequences.

For these reasons, among others, a prudent family will need to determine how they can be charitable without putting the safety of their own family at risk.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this charity question. After determining what they can actually afford to give away, each family can make donations of money, food, clothing, and/or medicine to a local food bank, homeless shelter, orphanage, or local church with the stipulation that the gift be used to help the needy families in the local area.

The donation may be made to one of these organizations that is located close to the donating family, or to one that is a reasonable distance away if anonymity is considered a prudent course of action. The advantage of donating to a nearby establishment is that the donating family can direct any beggars to its location. The family would not have to mention whether or not they personally donated anything of value to the charitable organization; they could simply say they heard that food was available there.

During hard times the beggar (hobo) information network works extremely well and everyone knows which homes always say “no†and which ones sometimes say “yes†and which ones always “give directions to the nearest charitable organization.†A family can put a simple note and a directions map on their front door (or gate) to help reduce the number of beggars who actually knock on their door. The note could be written in English and Spanish. Without opening the door, the family could ask who is knocking and what their business is, and then give directions through the closed door. Remember that an innocent looking beggar could also be a very skilled thief and/or killer. Always keep your doors closed and bolted during hard times and ask and answer questions through the door. Do not open your door even to those who pretend to have or who actually do have hearing deficiencies. The note on your front door should be adequate to answer any question the hard of hearing may have.

During serious hard times the local churches and their leaders will be confronted with an increasing and overwhelming number of requests for help. Many churches will respond by setting up committees to oversee the collection, storing, and distribution of food, clothing, and other supplies to needy families. Some churches already perform this function in their communities on an ongoing basis. The advantage of making your charitable donations to a church or other charitable organization is that they can more equally distribute the available charity to everyone who is in need. And when the charity is all gone, those who received it will know that more will not be available until some future time, whether it is a free hot meal the following day, or a few more free groceries one week or one month from now.
A nearby local church or other charitable organization is a superior method for equitably distributing charity to everyone who is need. The reasons are as follows:
1. They will receive charitable donations from anyone regardless of whether or not the individual is a member of the organization or church.
2. They are usually located within a reasonable distance of the families who are donating the charity.
3. They are usually within walking distance or bicycle distance of the needy families.
4. They distribute charity to local residents and individuals passing through the community and therefore they help to relieve local suffering and reduce the local crime rate.
5. They minimize the chance of one family receiving more charitable assistance than another family.
6. The local charitable organization usually knows if any work is available locally and they will pass that information on to the welfare recipients. This helps those in charge of dispensing charity to identify the families who have members who could work but chose not to. Families who accept work assignments and faithfully discharge those work duties will also usually be told where they can rent a meager but simple room to live in.
7. The recipients of the charity quickly learn where the charity is being given and it helps to minimize their investment of time and energy in receiving assistance.
8. It provides everyone in the local area with an immediate and helpful answer to anyone who is in need of assistance. No one ever has to say, “No, I can’t help you.†Instead everyone can provide directions to the nearest charitable organization.
9. Beggars will quickly learn that it is fruitless to beg door-to-door in a local area because anyone who has anything to give has already donated it to the local charitable organization.
10. When the total amount of available charity in an area is not adequate to sustain all the families in that area that need charity assistance, then some of those families will realize it is time to move on to another area where the overall conditions might be more favorable.

In closing may I suggest you read the book written by Pitirim A. Sorokin called “Man and Society in Calamity.†It contains historical information about how starving individuals have actually behaved during previous hard times. A condensed summary of his book can be read at my web site: Man and Society in Calamity - Summary.
Respectfully, - Grandpappy

JWR Adds: It is noteworthy that there are many stories dating back to the Great Depression about the methods that hobos used to "mark" the property of families and businesses that were willing to give charity to strangers. The recent upsurge in "warchalking" of free wireless access locations is reminiscent of this practice.

I do recommend being charitable, but like Grandpappy, for your own safety, I recommend that you be charitable at arm's length. Working through a church as an intermediary is a time-proven method.

I found this on Survival blog so I thought I'd pass it on :D
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