Your reputable neighborhood food pantry has been serving friends for decades. Hundreds, if not thousands, of families have walked through those doors and received life giving food at no cost.
Volunteers spend countless hours raising money, purchasing and stocking food, writing and enforcing policies and procedures.
Week after week, month after month, year after year, the line keeps forming. Some of these families have been helped since the very beginning.
“Why do we persist in giving away food when we know it fosters dependency?”
“Because it’s easier!” the attractive lady blurted out.
Is continuing to give away food really helping anybody? It’s easier, and the givers feel good for helping. And that’s what it’s all about, right? No!
Here is the progression of giving Lupton writes about: [Toxic Charity, p. 130]
- Give once and you elicit appreciation;
- Give twice and you create anticipation;
- Give three times and you create expectation;
- Give four times and it becomes entitlement;
- Give give times and you establish dependency.
I, for one, don’t want to establish expectation, much less entitlement or dependency. The generosity we give should build people up, enable life skills development and allow them to achieve life goals.
Development is not about meeting my need for purpose and worth. The hard thing about development is that it is long-term and requires hard work.
This is not the “McDonaldization” model. This takes time.
How? Come back tomorrow for a better way.
Side note: Some of you will wonder, “Is he trying to say something about Gayton’s Food Pantry?” The great thing about working with Stacy is that she’s usually a step ahead of me, trying to figure out a better way to help people. We’ve been on this journey for quite a while, trying to envision the future, and while we’re not there yet, we’re far past the content of this post. Never fear, Gaytonites, Stacy has it under control!
Catch up with the rest of the Toxic Charity Series!