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October 15, 2008 / TildeWill

It’s Blog Action Day

http://blogactionday.org/

What I’ve Done

One of the most fulfilling things I’ve done to address poverty is to participate in the Appalachia Service Project (http://asphome.org). It’s a housing project like Habitat in the West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee area that does some new construction, but mostly home repair. I went as a volunteer four years in a row, then in college I became a staff member in the summer, and then went as a group leader for several years afterwards. It’s tied loosely to the Methodist Church. I wish I could explain to you what it was like to sleep on the floor of a high school gym for a week, eat cafeteria food, and sweat my balls off in the sun and feel great every moment of it.

I’m a doer. I feel good when I help by doing, not by standing on a soap box, not by donating money. I have to get my hands in it, it has to be hard.

What I Think

Poverty is a huge topic. I’ve been lucky enough to be raised in a well-to-do family, to have an education, and to have the ability and ambition to put that education to use in gainful employment. What gets me most about living in SF now is that there are homeless guys who stand at the same spot all day begging for money. They’re there before I go to work, they’re there when I go home. It’s a job the way I see it, but they have no boss, and every patron is their customer. I wonder what the retention rate is like? But at that point, why not get a “real” job? There’s an emotional component to it, something that Amy brought to my attention. It’s something I feel like I should understand better.

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