Guys, it’s time to get together to fight poverty. In 2017, problems like food access, malnourishment, homelessness, and affordable housing should not be as prominent as they are. With the help of just a few of your buddies, you can help the world to overcome these problems over the course of the next year.
When you do good for others, there are tons of benefits in it for you, too. Multiple studies have shown that by helping others you increase your own happiness! Giving back has a direct impact on your body, precisely, the mesolimbic system. When you help the part of the brain responsible for feelings of reward is triggered, raising your overall happiness!
Homeless and poverty are a major problem in nearly every area of the country, and men are in a fantastic position to do something about it. It won’t be easy—no pain, no gain, right?—but it will be possible, so long as you put some muscle into it. The needy of your area are out on the streets right now. Don’t you want to be the one to help them out? Here’s how to get started.
Volunteer at a Food Bank
Food banks provide essential nourishment for all kinds of people in need: the homeless, children living in poverty, people with disabilities, disaster survivors, etc. Anyone who relies on the kindness and hard work of strangers has likely eaten from the charitable hand of the local food bank.
Food banks (also called food shelters, food pantries, etc.) can usually use volunteer muscle. Because they try to aim their budgets as directly as possible at food and direct relief, they do their best to save money whenever and wherever they can. And one great way to save money is to rely on volunteer workers. Important but simple tasks like serving food, preparing meals, and setting up dining areas are thing easily done by guys like you and your friends.
Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter
Homeless shelters are some of the kindest, most humane institutions our society has to offer. Like food banks (with whom they frequently collaborate), homeless shelters provide meals to people who don’t have everyday necessities like a living wage or access to complete meals.
Homeless shelters are interesting places for guys to volunteer. You’ll get to work hard for a noble end, learn a thing or two about the homeless culture in your neck of the woods, and have some interesting things to talk about together afterwards. You’ll also meet some interesting men. Homeless men nearly always have interesting stories to tell, and their hard-won wisdom might make you reassess your approach to life.
Sadly, some of these interesting men will no doubt be veterans. Veteran homelessness is frightfully common. It might sound strange that soldiers have such a tough time adapting to civilian life, after all, they have been through, but lack of jobs, insufficient medical care, and the lasting effects of trauma on their physical and mental states can all work together to prevent veterans from leading happy, successful lives once they return home.
Lots of guys love to get and do good in person, to get dirt under their nails in order to lift the lifestyles of the people they care about, but that approach isn’t for everyone. It’s not even necessarily the best approach. Maybe you don’t have any free time to spare, or maybe the local food shelter or bank is too far from your home to make volunteering practical. Heck, maybe you’re just not a people person.
No sweat. One easy solution is just to give money to positive organisations. A simple Google search of non-profit poverty alleviation organisations in your city will give you lots of hits. Do some research about groups that do good work, and write one (or more!) of them a check. Non-profit companies almost always need some money, and any amount you can donate will make a direct impact on poverty in your community.
The Center for American Progress (CAP), for instance, would be happy to take in some extra dough. CAP pushes for poverty prevention strategy among lawmakers, activists, and the general public. They aim to increase social equality, raise awareness about sustainability, and push for educational and economic policies that prevent poverty before it begins, among other things. When you donate money to a group like CAP, you provide raw fuel and let the experts take control from there.
Work Professionally to Relieve Poverty
Volunteering is great, but if you really want to do some righteous damage to poverty, you could consider making relief work your job. If you’ve done some time volunteering with a local non-profit, you’ve probably already made some good contacts and shown them what you are capable of as a worker.
Poverty relief work is good work. And it takes people of kinds of skillsets. Love to drive and work on cars? You could become a delivery guy who dabbles with in-house maintenance. Have a passion for people? Become a fundraiser or human resources professional. Are you a whiz with technology? Become the IT guy or build up an attractive new website.
The pay in the poverty relief world isn’t always spectacular. It takes a certain kind of grit to get by as a non-profit worker. But you’ll be on of the ones down in the front lines in the battle against hunger, homelessness, and dire poverty.
Start a Poverty Relief Group at Work
Even if you’ve got an everyday office job, you can use your professional status to raise awareness and funds for the issue you’re passionate about. Your coworkers and you already have the rapport necessary for getting things done. Use that teamwork to run events that raise money for food banks and homeless shelters. It can be a good way to do good while getting to know your office mates better.
Raise Awareness on Social Media
Sometimes something as simple as a little informal web promotion can make all the difference in the world. When you’re too busy to get and do things in real life, you can at least promote local services via Facebook or Twitter. You might not be able to spare time or money, but maybe a few of your friends are in a position to help. If you give them the information, you’ll be making yourself a valuable tool in the fight against poverty.
Contact local politicians to get them to promote policies that encourage aid to the homeless. Make sure they don’t neglect veterans and people with disabilities. Politicians have the power to make a change, and they care about the opinions of their constituents. Your voice will only be heard if you use it. Let them know that you and your buddies find issues of poverty important.
Don’t Give Up!
Things don’t happen magically overnight. Keep things hopeful in 2017, and when things get frustrating, it’s time to double down, toughen up, and keep struggle against injustice and poverty. Let’s do this!