How You Can Take Action —
Organizations to Contact
Freecycle and Craigslist give new life to old stuff by facilitating porch pickups for everything from free lamps and scrap wood to cans of food close to their expiration dates.
That kind of stuff is posted on Buy Nothing's local Facebook pages too, but the group is about a lot more than just stuff. It's about the people and stories behind the stuff and the porch meetings between neighbors.
Rolling Jubilee bought and forgave $13.5 million in personal debt. A newly released study by the Urban Institute says about 77 million people in the United States have debt that is subject to collections – often debt that was incurred to pay for basic needs. That's one of the reasons the Occupy Wall Street group Strike Debt formed the Rolling Jubilee project
In 2005, residents of the declining rust-belt city of Kalamazoo, Mich., received some unbelievably good news: A new program supported by private donors would fund Kalamazoo kids' college tuition up to 100 percent at any of Michigan's public colleges and universities. The Kalamazoo Promise would be available to any student enrolled in a Kalamazoo public school since the ninth grade. It was the most comprehensive scholarship program in the entire country.
At the O+ Festival, art and music are exchanged for fillings, physical therapy, routine physician's exams, and other health services. The festival began when a Kingston dentist wondered aloud to his artist friend if he could get a band he liked from Brooklyn to play for free dental care. He could, it turned out, and with the help of a few friends in the arts, his idea grew into the first O+ Festival in 2010.
Masbia serves up dignity with dinner to hundreds of hungry New Yorkers every day. Instead of long lines and a tedious intake process, diners at this soup kitchen are greeted by a friendly host and ushered to a private table for a delicious three-course kosher meal. No questions, just healthy food. Original artwork decorates the walls, the atmosphere is cozy, and the menu is prepared using fresh ingredients donated by farmers markets and CSAs. Nearly all the kitchen and wait staff are volunteers. Every day, more than 500 people come to Masbia's three locations. This year alone, the growing organization expects to serve more than 1 million meals.
Today, mutual aid remains an important alternative for people with limited or no access to state-funded services. Cooperatively run pre-K schools, lending circles for low-income groups, and even some housing associations fill in the gaps left by state services. Mutual aid societies are still particularly relevant among immigrant communities.
In Chicago, home to some 3,000 Iraqi refugees, the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society is Iraqi immigrants helping each other adjust to American society. Language and vocational classes provide practical skills while social and cultural events like poetry contests and concerts help refugees remain connected to their unique culture and community. Resources include free and reduced-cost child care, and the group's Immigration Legal Services Program provides help with naturalization petitions. According to iraqimutualaid.org, the region expects at least 800 more refugees annually over the next several years.
1) Feeding America: Feeding America is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, with network members supplying food to more than 25 million Americans each year. Their network of more than 200 food banks serves all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.The Feeding America network secures and distributes more than 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually.
2) Project Bread: As state's leading anti-hunger organization, Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. Through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, Project Bread provides millions of dollars each year in privately donated funds to more than 400 emergency food programs in 128 communities statewide.
3) Kiva: Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.
4) ONE: ONE is a grassroots campaign and advocacy organization backed by more than 2 million people from around the world and every walk of life who are committed to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.
5) Oxfam: Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.
6) The Meals On Wheels Association of America : The Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is the oldest and largest organization in the United States representing those who provide meal services to people in need. MOWAA's mission is to provide visionary leadership and professional training and to develop partnerships that will ensure the provision of quality nutrition services to seniors in need.
7) Jubliee USA: The Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
8) Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided $1.5 billion in assistance to people in 106 nations. Supported by headquarters offices in North America and Europe, the agency's unified global programs employ 3,500 staff worldwide and reach nearly 16.4 million people in more than 35 countries.
9) The Hunger Site: The Hunger Site was founded to focus the power of the Internet on a specific humanitarian need; the eradication of world hunger. Since its launch in June 1999, the site has established itself as a leader in online activism, helping to feed the world's hungry and food insecure. On average, over 220,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the yellow "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button. To date, more that 200 million visitors have given more than 300 million cups of staple food.
10) The Hunger Project: The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, The Hunger Project seeks to end hunger and poverty by empowering people (especially women) to lead lives of self-reliance, meet their own basic needs and build better futures for their children.
Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center helps to combat hate and bigotry, along with promote the elimination of social injustice and community empowerment. By working to better these areas, we can increase stability among cultures and communities.
Institute for Research on Poverty
IRP is a center for interdisciplinary research into the causes and consequences of poverty and social inequality in the United States. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan. It is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As one of three National Poverty Research Centers sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it has a particular interest in poverty and family welfare in Wisconsin as well as the nation.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1180 Observatory Drive
3412 William H. Sewell Social Sciences Building
Madison WI 53706-1320
Fax: (608) 265-3119