With the tightening economy, increased middle-class anxiety, home foreclosures and lengthening lines at soup kitchens throughout the United States, more and more and more Americans will be relying on the good will of their neighbors. This documentary examines why people decide to offer their time and money to answer the need. When and how to help people in poverty is an ancient ethical question. But in most cases, there remains a wall between the poor and everyone else. Apart from income inequality, which has grown significantly in the last two decades, a social barrier remains. There is little direct contact between the haves and have-nots.
In this truly inspiring program, we hear the stories of people who give of their time and financial resources to help members of our society who are struggling — and who often feel marginalized. Why are the givers motivated to help out? What benefits are gained by people who reach out to others in need? What kind of self-reflection is required to give wisely? Interviewees include: Kathe McKenna, founder of Haley House, soup kitchen serving thousands; Paul Schervish of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy; Henrietta Green, a librarian who tutors adults who can’t read; Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine; members of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia which builds housing for needy families and others.
I’ve always felt that people volunteer, me included, primarily somewhat out of a selfish interest. Because it gives them satisfaction. It just makes you feel good.”
—Craig Satterly, volunteers to build housing for low-income people