Lupton brings up some very interesting points about charitable giving and missions work through extensive research that most people would not be aware of, including me. This was a very eye-opening read to me because I had not realized how harmful and demoralizing one-way giving can be. I like how Lupton compares one-way giving to welfare and how it takes away people’s incentives to better themselves. I agree with Lupton that there are times when help and aid should be given freely but those times are only under dire circumstances and the majority of free giving is unneeded. The problem with the free-giving is the dependency it creates. When someone realizes that they no longer have to try and figure out a way to eat or to clothe themselves because they know someone will provide it for them, they begin to rely on the charitable help. After a while, they cannot physically exist without their dependency on others. This is what Lupton calls disempowering.
Instead of disempowering poor and needy and actually leaving them worse-off then before they were helped, charities need to try and solve the underlying cause of the problem, not just the surfaced result. Discovering the underlying cause takes time and patience. Instead of random acts of kindness by different people every time we need consistent teams who are willing to invest themselves in the long run. Relationships need to be established so that the people in need can develop strong trusts and friendships. Once these friendships are created, we can begin to find the cause of the problems and unroot them instead of just putting band-aids on outward results.
Once relationships and trust are established, we then can teach those in need better ways to do things. We can teach them how to fish instead of just giving them a fish, we can provide smarter more profitable ways to farm instead of just providing temporary service, we can strengthen an economy by providing a surplus of water that can be sold for a profit. These are just a few examples found in Toxic Charity but are prime examples of ways we can change a community from the inside out. By joining with the communities instead of just doing their work for them while we pity and they watch, we can team up with them so that they can reap the direct benefits of their work. Lupton believes that there are so many untapped assets in these communities and all we have to do is find a way to utilize them. We need to be positive and see the potential that even some of the most run-down communities posses. There are leaders in these communities that want to make a difference they just need the proper platform as well as a helping hand and a clear vision.
By investing in longterm projects, teaming up with those in need instead of just picking up after them, using a positive lens, providing incentives, and listening, we will be able to help those in need more more effectively than the traditional charity systems. There is so much harm caused by traditional forms of charity even though the intentions are nothing but good. Through extensive research and first-hand experience, Lupton perfectly describes how to take our good intentions and convert them into world-changing actions.