I was a bit skeptical when the city of Myrtle Beach and the Waccamaw Community Foundation brought in Robert Lupton last summer. He is the author of "Toxic Charity," which details how charities sometimes cause more harm than good, unintentionally, by the way they operate their organizations and deal with the needy.
I was skeptical, not because I didn't think such tips could be valuable if used properly. I was skeptical, or maybe fearful is a better word, because I thought it would lead to more bashing of the poor, which was already too prevalent, and maybe fewer services.
I was happy to find out this week that some charities have taken some of his tips and put them into action, not to limit services, but to do them better, with a greater level of efficiency, which leads to needed help being delivered with a diminished chance of creating long-term dependency.
And those charities have found out something I've long seen in the work I've been able to do: Most people in need want to work, want to give back but sometimes don't know how.
They step up when given guidance - and a chance.
Here are some of the previous columns on this subject: