Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Social Justice Event

For my Social Justice Event, I decided to take part in the food drive that my church's Social Justice Committee holds every year for Easter. The first thing we had to do was get the word out about the food drive. We did this by making posters and hanging them near all the doors of the church, and we also put weekly announcments in the church bulletin about the food drive starting about a month before Easter. We have baskets near the doors to the church that the people can drop their donations in. When we got enough to donate to the food bank, we packaged all the food in boxes and took the boxes to the food bank. The best part to me is that the food bank is literally right up the road from my church, so our efforts stay local, which is cool because you can sort of see how those efforts impact the community.

I thought that I could relate this experience to Kahne and Westheimer on the topic of charity vs. change. Kahne and Westheimer mostly write about charity. According to the authors, charity is work that you can do to help others and at the same time, you get to experience the joy of helping others. Change is defined as identifying the problem and trying to solve it. The article by Kahne and Westheimer broke the differences between charity and change down:

Charity: Charity is giving due to a sense of civic duty, which results in an additive experience.
Change: Change is social reconstruction due to a sense of caring for others, which results in a transformative experience.
I would have to say that the experience I had with the food drive was a charity experience. We were giving to the people because we cared for them, and it also was because we had a sense of this "brotherly duty" to help others. I wouldn't say our work was change because although we helped others for a short period of time, we didn't actually indentify the cause of their problems. Most of the people who will receive our donations will still more than likely be poor, so there was really no social reconstruction taking place here. The end result of the food drive wasn't transformative; everything is still pretty much status- quo. But because of our efforts, many people got to have an Easter dinner they would not have had otherwise. So for a short period of time, the poor people in the community were helped, and my church's community had the joy of helping others, as Kahne and Westheimer put it. But, all in all, this food drive is something that I will continue to do because it was a good experience for me.

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