Giving with Dignity

It can be humiliating to be treated as a charity case—the object of someone else’s pity and justification for their pride. Not being able to feed your family can be enough of a blow to your self esteem; but having food (or a house, or other basic need) provided in the wrong spirit can be almost as crushing.

Poor Filipino families participate in the solution to their housing problem by helping construct the homes provided to them.

That is why Cross International takes care to maintain the dignity of the poor. Rather than take a “Santa Claus” approach, we lend behind-the-scenes support to local churches and ministries already serving poor communities. A needy family is helped by a pastor in their own neighborhood, for example. This not only builds up a family’s self worth and sense of community, it builds up the local church as well.

Whenever possible, we also require the poor to be part of their own solution. For instance:

  • Side-by-side with local Filipino Christians, poor families in Manila help build and paint the homes they receive through Gawad Kalinga.
  • Villagers in Zambia collect rocks and sand to make cement for much-needed wells and latrines through the Chikankata Water Project.
  • And disenfranchised Haitian families living in the Dominican Republic are asked to pay a token amount toward their children’s education at Light Community School.

As Christians, we are instructed to treat others—including the very poor—as we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). More than that, in humility we are to consider them better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3). It is with such humility that Cross International strives to honor the poor by helping them in Jesus’ name, and with his love.


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