This post is a continuation from yesterday’s introduction to why we need to change the food pantry goals.
Here are four things Lupton says we need to consider in our development work:
- Don’t subsidize poverty When we give away food again and again, we are subsidizing continued poverty.
- Reinforce productive work We need to find ways to reward those who are productive, encouraging ongoing work.
- Create producers, not beggars Many of our rules are written to combat begging. Building a production culture around our development programs encourages and enables good, hard work.
- Invest in self-sufficiency Our goal in food distribution programs should not be “more food distributed.” Our goal should be to help our friends sustain their families on their own.
How do we accomplish this? Food pantries don’t need to close, because emergencies still happen and we need to respond quickly. But after the emergency has passed, development needs to take over.
- Food co-ops will allow families to join with other families and use their purchasing power to begin providing.
- Community gardens offer an opportunity for meaningful work, allow fresh food to be distributed in the community and could provide a revenue stream at the right size.
- Stop giving food, clothes and other resources away. Beyond emergency provisions, some cost should be associated with purchasing an item. Proceeds can sustain the operation, provide emergency assistance funds and pay wages.
- Put your friends to work: build wages into your Food Pantry’s budget and hire these friends to help run the operation.
The idea of a Food Pantry growing larger and larger each year seems exciting, but the idea of providing development in our community and the lives of these families is more than exciting. Development is a parallel to the life-giving Creator we serve.
How can you build a developmental mindset into the ministry you lead?
Catch up with the rest of the Toxic Charity Series and check back later this week for more!