Prepare, Sustain, Thrive and Survive Simply
Have you seen food banks make this statement year after year?
“With thousands of people seeking aid each month, the Food Bank struggles to meet the increasing demands for food assistance.”
Despite the reference to “banks” where people put something in and (supposedly) get a return on investment, food banks are places where people get handouts. Charity is awesome, but an ongoing handout mentality is unsustainable for two reasons.
First of all, the system that provides the handouts is stressed and headed for collapse.
There are very few people who can fathom solutions for the crumbling system because all their eggs are in the status quo basket, which they guard to the death. This, of course, perpetuates the culture’s downward spiral and food banks struggle to meet increasing demand with no end in sight.
People who are still managing to stay afloat in the collapsing system have a sense that the needy at the bottom live in the reality of its decay. The “successful” ones live in fear of ending up in those shoes.
As a result, decision makers who reach a hand out to feed the poor and homeless are in fear of slipping downward into the pit.
The free meal mentality of the food bank patrons is the other side of the problem. As I said, charity is a good thing. But helping people become accountable for feeding themselves is better. A hand up is always better than a hand out.
This begs the question: You want to give people a hand up to get a foothold in a collapsing system? No. that’s the fallacy of mainstream thinking. I think it’s a stupid approach.
A breath of new inspiration is needed to jettison the mindset of both the haves and have-nots into a new paradigm. Then they can reweave the safety net according to a sustainable strategy.
I think the needy are obvious candidates to be the empowered worker bees in the front lines, demonstrating a perpetuable system where everyone has skills, opportunities, and liberty to get their needs met. This could happen in places an old friend called “ensample camps.” Ensample is an old King James Bible way of saying example.
Unfortunately, the proposition of truly empowering people runs headlong into the status quo fortress wall of social, political, and legal resistance that perpetuates the poverty paradigm. It also runs headlong into the current poverty mindset.
Living in rural impoverished areas for the past four decades has provided me a realistic perspective of the poverty mindset. For example, I have seen a lot of people unwilling to grow their own food when they have the resources to do so. Resources like plenty of time, ground, water, and sunshine. They lack the skills and/or drive to do so.
Here is a typical example of the dependency mindset
Last spring I was tending to a garden plot on a relative’s land. The garden was near a spot where the property owner was letting a formerly homeless person camp in a funky trailer. A homeless person who had been in federal institutions — where all his needs had been provided for — most of his adult life.
This guest saw me in the garden and asked if I had any extra seeds. I gave him a tin full to pick through and take what he wanted.
Next day he returned the tin, saying he took one pack each of jalapeno pepper and morning glory seeds. “Well, that won’t make much of a dent in your sustenance,” I thought, but didn’t say anything.
I planted a bunch of food and left the property unexpectedly, hoping that the three people who remained would water the plot and reap its bounty, especially since they were very reliant on the food bank and food cards.
They did so to a point, harvesting and eating garden produce through most of the summer, until apparently, watering the plot became too much trouble and they just let it go. The idea of tucking some new seeds into the ground — where they were already watering — apparently escaped them completely.
The fellow who’d had the opportunity to pick and grow all sorts of vegetables from the seeds in my tin was happy to eat the food I’d planted, but later made a comment that he thought I’d be mad about it.
When I returned in early fall, the garden was dried up. The weather was still warm enough that they could have still been harvesting food for their tables, if they had kept up with the watering. Instead, they had to beg rides to the food bank 20 miles away, for a few days’ sustenance.
“I didn’t realize how much work you put into that garden” the previously homeless felon said. “Too much work for me.”
I had tried to have a conversation with him at one point, that his reliance on the government food card was not a good strategy. For one thing, the government is not always going to be there to help (without wanting your soul in return). Meanwhile, why should working people have to pay to feed him? He replied that my opinions were making him angry, so I dropped the subject.
Jesus said to love everybody and feed the poor, and not to judge anybody. My experience is that none of us are completely free of any fault we judge others for. So judging anybody makes you a hypocrite on some level.
However, continuing to feed people unwilling to put some energy toward feeding themselves is counter-productive. They need to be presented with a deal where they are enabled to contribute to their existence in some way in exchange for sustenance and security.
But the wrong kind of deal will fail, and all to often, the haves come up with the wrong kind of deals. Their fear based mentality has a two-pronged downfall. It keeps them clutching at the crumbling status quo, which they must constantly shuffle to arrive at temporary relief. And that fear hinders them from understanding the mindset of the needy at the bottom of the food chain and all the fallout they navigate.
Get busy building sustainable culture
People who really want to be helpers should broaden their minds and overcome their trust in the status quo, loose the fear mentality, and get some deep insight on how to weave a paradigm that empowers everyone — including the needy — against the backdrop of a system in decay.
I invite you to check out other articles on the Simple Unhooked Living blog, and the Prepping and Thriving via Smart Simple Living Scoop.it site for ideas on where to start and figure out what’s standing in the way.
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