Feeding the hungry is a cause that is near and dear to many hearts. One of the true measures of a society is how the most needy among us are treated. But the question is, how do the needy access opportunities and who can best provide them?
As far as I am concerned, I believe we can allocate our personal capital to provide solutions to the opportunity problem. And I believe we can do so in a way that is efficient and provides value to everyone. That does not mean this is the only solution or a one-stop cure-all. But it can be a start to set the stage and build a foundation. This series will set out to show how and why.
What Would Feeding the Hungry Cost?
Let’s use Los Angeles as an example. A huge city with a huge hunger issue. The latest estimates state that there are approximately 31,500 homeless people on the streets of Los Angeles on any given night. Allow that to sink in for a moment.
The Los Angeles Mission, one of many charitable organizations that feeds the homeless in Los Angeles, says it costs $2.03 to provide a hot meal to a homeless person in need.
Assuming those numbers are correct, we find that it would require a contribution of less than $16 PER YEAR from each of the 3 million adult residents of the city of Los Angeles to provide two hot meals to every homeless person in the city every year.
$16 per year. A ridiculously affordable amount needed to provide the basic need of food to our neighbors. We can do that. And in doing so, we raise the floor for everyone and can then turn our attention to the next rung on the ladder.
Power of Crowdfunding
Ever since there was money and someone had a need for it, some version of crowdfunding existed. Of course, things were more difficult before the internet and social media came along. People had to go door-to-door, stand in the public square, or more recently hold charity auction nights or expensive galas with high overhead costs.
Never before have we had the ability to virtually eliminate the overhead costs as well as the inefficiencies and limited reach of face-to-face prospecting. We have the ability to reach millions of people at once and sustain that reach over time due to the advent of social media.
For example, “regular” people are now able to create their own online presence with reaches of millions of followers each. Others with hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands and so on. Regular, everyday people have become social influencers. Even those of us with only hundreds or tens of followers can get in on the act, as every share or retweet spreads messages with “virality”.
Modern Times Give Rise to Modern Solutions
The possibilities presented to us today are endless. We have the ability to reach millions from behind our computers. We have the ability to transfer funds digitally with ease. And, in general, we have the good hearts and giving nature of people all around our country. This in combination gives us a power to raise our society in a way that we have never had before.
But Why Us?
There seems to be a rise in discussion these days, within the media and the population, of the political model of socialism or at least socialistic practices to provide for societal needs, like basic living needs, education, health care, etc. Yet there is no consensus on the role of government in providing for these services. There is even less consensus on who should be compelled to pay for them and how much it should cost. The reason I am writing this series is to propose a solution that is agreeable to the broad spectrum of citizens. That is, a solution which will ultimately provide for the opportunity needs of our neighbors while maintaining a voluntary contribution status that allows for individuals to contribute according to their means, geographic location, beliefs, etc. Then let’s see how we do.
Introducing the Crowdfunding Our Needs Series
In this ongoing series, I will highlight certain needs many in our society have and the potential cost and contribution necessary to create a foundation that provides opportunities to those who need them.
This installment of the series took a look at feeding the hungry, using Los Angeles (a city with a high homeless population) as an example. If there are any needs near and dear to your heart that you would like to see covered, please let me know in the comments below. The list is long, but hopefully we can get to a lot of them. Or at least we can start the trend so that whoever has the means and the desire to do so can do so themselves.
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