Synopses & Reviews
An inside look at America's volunteer network and its determined but frustrated drive to end hunger -- amidst the largest gap between rich and poor in our nation's history
Our country is changing its collective attitude toward poverty. Government support is out; volunteerism, workfare, and private charity are in -- with a vengeance. Sociologist Janet Poppendieck studies this watershed through the lens of emergency food programs. Traveling the country to work in soup kitchens and "gleaning" centers, the author puts faces on these volunteers and the recipients of their good works. Sweet Charity? reports from the front line: from the "clients", who endure endless humiliations for meals too small to feed their families, and the well-meaning volunteers, whose enthusiasm cannot overcome the underlying causes of all the misery they witness, to the directors who find their homegrown programs becoming more and more "successful" while wondering if they are not in some way contributing to the very problem they're working so hard to solve.
Timely and provocative, Sweet Charity? is the most persuasive argument in recent years that America cannot win a war on poverty with stopgap measures and empty rhetoric.