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Fighting Poverty in America and Abroad

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This article is part of Blog Action Day, a day in which bloggers around the world unite to bring attention to a single issue. This year, the issue is poverty.

Poverty is everywhere. It is in the farthest reaches of every continent and it is in the grandest cities our world has to offer. Poverty can be found in small town America, it can be found in the wastelands of Africa, and it can be found in the jungles of South America. While no one has the cure for poverty, there are ways that everyone can help fight poverty both here and abroad.

Fighting poverty in the United States

Like it or not, poverty is in the US. It has many faces and many causes. While the effects of poverty can be devastating, there are many ways each of use can help.

Donate time and services. Volunteering your time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Whether you volunteer skilled services or simply volunteer at a local soup kitchen, your gift can change someone’s life. Examples: Habitat for Humanity, pro bono law or medical work, volunteering in a homeless shelter, etc.*

Donate Goods. People living in poverty often need the essential goods you and I take for granted – warm clothing, food, medical supplies, toiletry items, and more. Examples: Donating goods to Salvation Army, Red Cross, your local church, etc.

Donate Money. Even organizations that rely on volunteer services and donated goods have overhead costs. Without the money, organizations cannot function. Many organizations also use money for direct support of people. Examples: Any of the charities mentioned above, EARN, and more.

Fighting poverty abroad

Poverty is a worldwide problem, and I think it is important for Americans to look outside our country and help others however possible. There are many international organizations worth supporting, as well numerous churches and organizations based here in the US that provide relief throughout the world.

Donate Money. Every international relief organization has one common need: money. Every organization can use more. For most of us in the United States, money is the easiest gift to give to international organizations because it is portable and accepted everywhere. Examples: International Red Cross, Kiva, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, Grameen Foundation, etc.

Donate Goods. Donating goods can be more difficult because of the high costs of transporting them, but there are still many items that can be donated and shipped. Examples: Food, clothing, medical supplies, school supplies, equipment for housing, clean water, etc.

Donate time and services. Donating time and services to fight global poverty is not something everyone can realistically accomplish. But there are many people who leave their homes to go abroad to help people in any way they can. Examples: Doctors Without Borders, Peace Corps, missionary services, etc.

You can fight poverty

Poverty is a worldwide condition that will probably never be eradicated. Though we may never be able to cure poverty, we may be able to help ease the strain it causes for many people. Each time you help someone you have a direct impact on their life. And that is a powerful and beautiful thing.

My plan. My goal for today is to open an account with Kiva and hopefully fund a few loans within the next few days. I have a couple hundred dollars earmarked for this and hopefully will be able to share my experiences with everyone in the coming days. I can’t change the world, but if I can help one person succeed, then I have a made a difference.

*Note: Before donating your valuable time, services, goods, or money, be sure to investigate the charities to ensure they are legitimate. You should always protect yourself against charity scams.

Here are what some others have to say about poverty:

Do you have a favorite charity that fights poverty? Feel free to share it in the comments section below.


Published or updated July 5, 2011.
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Easton Ellsworth

Great way to divide it up, Ryan – money, goods, time/service. Everyone can help the poor.

Thanks for supporting our event!

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2 Chelsey @ Brown Eyed Basics

Another way you can do that is to sponsor a child through an organization like Compassion (www.compassion.com). That’s a way to donate money to help one child, and to donate time by developing a relationship with the child. I’ve been doing it for almost a year and it has blessed me so much!

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3 Ryan

Chelsey: I had not heard of this organization. Thanks for bringing it to my attention and sharing it with everyone. :)

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4 John Hunter

Great post. I really like helping by providing a helping hand to people to let them improve their lives. Two of my favorite tools for helping that progress along are Kiva, Trickle Up and many other great microfinancing organizations help too. Habitat for Humanity is excellent too. I am glad to see you plan to join Kiva. I have a page on my blog showing readers that are helping through Kiva: Curious Cat Kivans.

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5 Peter

Great post, love how you broke it up into time/service, and money. It’s good to think about how others are in need, and how we can help them.

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6 Ryan

Alexis: Thank you for sharing your organization’s goals. I’m a firm believer in teaching and providing opportunity. Many people are willing to go the distance, but either lack the knowledge or the equipment to do it on their own.

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7 Alexis

I am glad you discussed different ways to help those in poverty other than monetary donations. Giving someone a warm blanket or volunteering at a shelter goes a long way.

I keep seeing the quote “give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day…”, the non profit organization I work for is trying to do the other half of that “teach him to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime”. We provide computers, resources, training, and community outreach programs to those living in poverty to help them develop the necessary skills they need to get into the workforce. We’re teaching them to fish.

You can check us out at http://current.pic.tv/

Everyone can make a difference, no matter how big or small.

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8 Jo

Hi

Another great volunteer organisation, started by people passionate about the African continent, African Impact

Check it out for more info on exciting volunteer opportunities!

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