I have been a fan of Doctors Without Borders for quite some time. How can you not? These are people who go into the worst situations in the world and provide much needed medical treatment. War zones, disaster areas, you name it. They don’t care where it is or how bad the situation, they just go and do. Having met people who work within the organization, you realize they’ve made that great leap that too many of us are too scared to make: if you give a damn about the world, go out and do something to fix it. And they do it with out judging the people they’re treating or trying to browbeat them with political or religious dogma.
To get an idea of what it’s like for physicians and field workers who put in their time with MSF, do check the very excellent documentary, Living in Emergency.
You don’t have to be a history major to know that homelessness and poverty is an inherit part of urban life. Read Stephen Crane’s excellent short story, “An Experiment in Misery,” and too much of its 1800s setting still sounds the same. The simple fact is that there can never enough money and/or resources to eliminate either problem. I was a regular volunteer at YCP for a while and then had dropped off recently. Feeling guilty, I went back to volunteer just have the recession hit. The number of families coming to YCP for the Food Pantry program had skyrocketed. I became a proud supporter of YCP after I first started volunteering there and witnessing the simplicity of the Food Pantry program. It isn’t a soup kitchen, but rather designed to help poorer families get through the week and not fall through the cracks (as too often happens). In addition to the pantry program, they also provide a 24/7 emergency food program for families and individuals, as well as homeless support and counseling for those in need.