Poverty is already deeply-rooted in our culture. You can even argue that poverty is our culture and it requires a cultural solution.
It is reflected in our poor's entitlement to being helped and their dependence on others, especially the government. Helping harms the poor when we start doing the things they are supposed to do for themselves. Helping in such a way can rob them of their human dignity.
It is also reflected in the rich's desperate hold on power. They guise maintaining the status quo as helping the poor. After all, they are the ones who benefit from the status quo—from keeping things as they are and making sure the poor stays where they are. Yet, this is a sign of their poverty (or scarcity) mentality.
(Of course, this is a generalization. Not all who are poor are entitled and not all who are rich take advantage of the status quo.)
The only real way for our country to rise again is to change the culture. It starts from the individual and spreads to others. It takes time and entails sacrifice. But, we'll all benefit from it in the long run. Changing the culture should be approached by taking it one day, one contribution at a time.
The best way to help the poor is also not by merely feeding them, but by equipping them. Equip them with the right mindset, attitude, values, and skills. Teach them how to fish.
Most of all, raise up their spirits and dignity. Teach them to make a contribution, to make a difference, and to be part of something bigger than themselves. After all, they are humans just like you and me and they have the desire to live meaningful lives.
Let's be part of building our nation. What's your contribution?
P.S. Hopefully, my fiancée and I will be able to start the bible study sessions for poor families next year. We have been dreaming of doing that for years. Aside from the eternal implications of God's word, there is also an enormous amount of practical knowledge in the bible that can change mindsets, attitudes, values, and lives. It can also change the culture. I’m praying that it will be our contribution to changing the culture and building the nation. What's yours? Your contribution is something worth thinking about today.