Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement

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9780140245561: Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement

In this era of eroding commitment to government sponsored welfare programs, voluntarism and private charity have become the popular, optimistic solutions to poverty and hunger. The resurgence of charity has to be a good thing, doesn't it? No, says sociologist Janet Poppendieck, not when stopgap charitable efforts replace consistent public policy, and poverty continues to grow.In Sweet Charity?, Poppendieck travels the country to work in soup kitchens and "gleaning" centers, reporting from the frontlines of America's hunger relief programs to assess the effectiveness of these homegrown efforts. We hear from the "clients" who receive meals too small to feed their families; from the enthusiastic volunteers; and from the directors, who wonder if their "successful" programs are in some way perpetuating the problem they are struggling to solve. Hailed as the most significant book on hunger to appear in decades, Sweet Charity? shows how the drive to end poverty has taken a wrong turn with thousands of well-meaning volunteers on board.

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About the Author:

Janet Poppendieck is a professor of sociology at Hunter College of the City University of New York and Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A magnificent work of engaged scholarship analyzing hunger in modern America and the private and public responses to it. Poppendieck (Sociology/Hunter Coll.; Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat, not reviewed) deals here with the seeming paradox that ``poverty grows deeper as our charitable responses to it multiply.'' Amid the myriad problems of the poor, we have chosen as a society to focus on hunger. Private, volunteer responses have been vigorous and grown exponentially; today there are tens of thousands of food programs in the US, sponsored by organizations as diverse as the Boy Scouts, postal workers, religious institutions, and credit card companies. Clearly, we care, and Poppendieck does nothing to question the sincerity of such efforts, only their efficacy. She finds we have retreated to charity rather than confront the fundamental causes of hunger and poverty. Growing job insecurity in a time of globalizing and downsizing, reductions in the purchasing power of minimum wage and public assistance, andmost especially, for the authorthe unrelenting attack on programs and entitlements for the poor, have created an inequality in the US greater than at any time since WWII. Volunteer food programs thus attack only a symptom of poverty and at the same time contribute to this poverty. They do so by allowing us to focus our energy on immediate need; they sap the energy of activists who might otherwise devote more of their time to advocacy efforts on behalf of the poor. Finally, such food programs let government off the hook, allowing it to ignore its responsibility to foster a more just and equitable society. The author examines all of these themes in detail through documentary research but also through ``participant observation.'' She works in soup kitchens and food banks. She interviews food recipients in their homes and neighborhoods. She brings to life the interactions of giver and receiver, creating a stunning tableau of kindness and desperation. The most important book on hunger and poverty in America since Michael Harrington's The Other America (1964). -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this era of eroding commitment to government sponsored welfare programs, voluntarism and private charity have become the popular, optimistic solutions to poverty and hunger. The resurgence of charity has to be a good thing, doesn t it? No, says sociologist Janet Poppendieck, not when stopgap charitable efforts replace consistent public policy, and poverty continues to grow.In Sweet Charity?, Poppendieck travels the country to work in soup kitchens and gleaning centers, reporting from the frontlines of America s hunger relief programs to assess the effectiveness of these homegrown efforts. We hear from the clients who receive meals too small to feed their families; from the enthusiastic volunteers; and from the directors, who wonder if their successful programs are in some way perpetuating the problem they are struggling to solve. Hailed as the most significant book on hunger to appear in decades, Sweet Charity? shows how the drive to end poverty has taken a wrong turn with thousands of well-meaning volunteers on board. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780140245561

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this era of eroding commitment to government sponsored welfare programs, voluntarism and private charity have become the popular, optimistic solutions to poverty and hunger. The resurgence of charity has to be a good thing, doesn t it? No, says sociologist Janet Poppendieck, not when stopgap charitable efforts replace consistent public policy, and poverty continues to grow.In Sweet Charity?, Poppendieck travels the country to work in soup kitchens and gleaning centers, reporting from the frontlines of America s hunger relief programs to assess the effectiveness of these homegrown efforts. We hear from the clients who receive meals too small to feed their families; from the enthusiastic volunteers; and from the directors, who wonder if their successful programs are in some way perpetuating the problem they are struggling to solve. Hailed as the most significant book on hunger to appear in decades, Sweet Charity? shows how the drive to end poverty has taken a wrong turn with thousands of well-meaning volunteers on board. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780140245561

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