Impactful Ways to Help the Poor
More than 700 million people across the world live in extreme poverty, and close to half of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day. For years, poverty rates have been on the decline. The global pandemic in 2020 has caused a significant setback for many, making efforts to help people rise out of poverty especially critical at this time.
Helping the poor is an admirable endeavor, and for Christians, it is a commandment. The Bible tells us repeatedly just how important it is to care for people who are impoverished, both physically and spiritually. Christ tells us in Matthew 25:40 that when we take care of a person’s physical needs, it holds spiritual significance, saying, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Many people have a sincere desire to help, but they may not know how to serve the poor in ways that are truly beneficial. If you want to help the poor, consider how you can maximize your impact and help people experience lasting change that improves their quality of life and breaks the cycle of poverty.
Ending Poverty Through Empowerment
A willingness and enthusiasm to help the poor in your community and throughout the world is an excellent starting place. It’s important to consider your attitudes about impoverished people and what helping them should look like. Rather than viewing poverty as a permanent state of being that requires temporary alleviation, consider how to empower the poor so they can experience an improved quality of life long-term.
When you partner with charities, ensure their philosophy prioritizes empowerment and sustainable change that help lift people and communities from poverty rather than focusing on temporary fixes. Poverty is a cycle that can only be broken when substantive changes take place — changes that equip people to build a better life for themselves, their families and future generations.
How to Help People Rise From Poverty Globally
To help people rise out of poverty, it’s best to first investigate the main problems that have contributed to the poverty and continue to hold people back. Once these factors are identified, you can contribute to their solutions. Key ways to help people rise out of poverty in communities around the world are to offer them:
- Access to food and water: About one in three people globally do not have access to safe drinking water, and about 820 million people across the world experience hunger. When a person does not have these basic needs met, it can make it difficult for them to work and can cause a litany of health problems. Helping people gain access to hygienic sources of water and a better supply of food is crucial in improving their quality of life.
- A source of reliable income: Where jobs are available, people may need help developing the right skills or having the right clothes to get a job. In some places, there may be a lack of opportunities for people to earn a living. Creating job opportunities and helping people gain employment are important means of ending poverty through empowerment.
- Educational opportunities: Many people living in poverty lack the education they need to develop important life skills or get well-paying jobs. The ability to read and write opens up a wealth of opportunities that are otherwise closed to people. The world’s literacy rate has steadily risen, but there are still 115 million youths across the world today who are illiterate.
- Shelter and infrastructure: Many of us take forms of infrastructure, such as roads, utility lines, cell towers and internet access, for granted. People who do not have access to this type of infrastructure and who lack safe living quarters are limited in what they can do. Helping communities build facilities and gain access to utilities they need can take them out of isolation from the rest of the world and create positive opportunities.
- Access to quality health care: When a person does not have access to quality, modern health care, they can experience debilitating health problems that prevent them from earning money. People with health conditions can also put a strain on families who must dedicate time and money to caring for them. Helping people gain access to quality health care services can help them experience a healthier and happier life.
How Catholic World Mission Empowers the Poor
At Catholic World Mission, empowering the poor is a key part of our mission, along with sharing the Gospel of Christ. We believe in serving people’s material and spiritual needs. To accomplish our mission, we use a Trinitarian approach that involves the following parties:
- The community in need: Catholic World Mission serves impoverished communities all over the globe. We seek to understand each community’s unique needs so we can serve them in a way that is truly meaningful for them. We also ensure the community is actively involved rather than passively receiving help so they are empowered in self-sustaining ways.
- Our dedicated local partners: Wherever we serve, we partner with local priests, religious leaders, bishops and laypeople who help oversee projects. These partners play a crucial role since they already have established connections and are providing spiritual support to their community. Involving these local partners is a key part of how we ensure our projects contribute to long-term solutions in communities.
- Catholic World Mission supporters: Our family of supporters make our work possible by generously giving to Catholic World Mission. These projects require monetary funding, and that funding is only possible with compassionate people who give sacrificially to help others — including people they’ve never met who live in other parts of the world.
We are the hands, feet, and eyes of Christ to impoverished children and families. Catholic World Mission takes an active role in alleviating material, intellectual and spiritual poverty for people around the globe. We stand in the gap between the poor of the world and our generous donors, making a way for Jesus to be better known to the poorest of the poor and to the benefactors who give so selflessly where the need is greatest.
Partner With Catholic World Mission to Help
If you’re interested in how to help end poverty worldwide, consider donating to Catholic World Mission. We seek to help people all over the globe through physical restoration, education and evangelization. Learn more about Catholic World Mission and the work we’re doing to help people experience physical and spiritual restoration. When you donate to Catholic World Mission, you can rest assured your money is helping serve people in impactful, lasting ways. Donate online today.
Learn More About CWM Catholic Values
Deacon Rick Medina is the Former Executive Director of Catholic World Mission and for years oversaw the management of all of Catholic World Mission's projects in over 35 countries. He was ordained a deacon of the archdiocese of Atlanta in 2013. He currently serves at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, Georgia, and is active in several ministries, including RCIA, baptism preparation, Life Teen, Altar Server group, Grief Share, and Adult Faith Formation.