Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement by Janet Poppendieck

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Janet Poppendieck

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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.
 
Published August 1, 1999 by Penguin Books. 372 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Tens of thousands of programs across the U.S. distribute free food to the hungry, a type of charity, according to the author, that ""comes with a price tag."" In a hard-hitting, radical analysis of a national crisis, Poppendieck, director of Hunter College's Center for the Study of Family Policy ...

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