Showing posts with tag: Toxic charity

Success Story: Volunteers Bridging the Class Divide

  It looked like a set up for failure:  White, middle class volunteers driving into a low income neighborhood from outside to “help out.”  Beyond simply helping, the group wanted to deepen their connections with their neighbor in the Park community, a low income neighborhood of mostly African-American, Hmong, Vietnamese and Spanish speaking Central Americans.  […]

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Helping Poor Families: A Case Study in Failure

Here’s a program for poor families that failed.  What went wrong?  Adopt-A-Family was a short-lived program started to help African American families hurt by welfare reform in the late 1990s.  The program’s goal was ambitious: white volunteers, moving out of their “comfort zones,” would get deeply involved in the life of an adopted low income […]

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Before Serving Others, Raise Your Awareness

  “I hate it when volunteers come down here,” a neighbor told Robert Lupton, author of the book, Toxic Charity.   Virgil, who lived in an economically challenged neighborhood of Atlanta, had just observed a fourteen-passenger van filled with young volunteers on a mission trip.  This church group been coming every weekend for two months and […]

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When Helping Hurts: How to Avoid Toxic Charity

  Seeking to serve the poor, do we ever hurt them instead? Sometimes when we provide assistance to someone, we end up insulting them, confusing them or hurting them, often quite unintentionally. There is a favorite expression in my family whenever this happens: “The helping hand strikes again.” It’s a special danger when you occupy […]

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