Civil Society

Fighting Hunger: Mutual Aid in Tucson

Civil society in action.

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Molly Thrasher of Try Freedom Stories has put together a video profile of One Can a Week, a small-scale, neighborhood-based anti-hunger program in Tucson, Arizona:

For those of you who'd rather read than watch, Thrasher wrote this description of the effort in a guest post for Bleeding Heart Libertarians:

"One Can A Week" is a neighborhood food collection program started in 2009. Peter saw families in Tucson struggling with poverty and hunger. The local food bank was not able to meet the demand. Peter asked his neighbors in his working class neighborhood, if they would donate just one can of food a week to help the needy. It worked. In the five years, his neighbors have collected 65,000 pounds of food and donated over $13,000 to the community food bank.

"One Can a Week" is the very definition of small-scale problem solving. Elinor Ostrom argued that many small-scale problems could be solved by relying on the local knowledge of those in the community. Peter saw a problem and knew that he could do something simply by working with his neighbors. This small project has had a huge impact but the significance of it is much larger. With similar small efforts in neighborhoods all over America, we could end the huge problem of hunger in our country.

Read the rest here. And check out Thrasher's IndieGoGo page, where she's raising funds for films about three more grassroots efforts against hunger.

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  1. How can this be? I’ve been told over and over that voluntary charity is insufficient, and that only government force can help people! I don’t believe it! La la la la laaaaaa I can’t hear you la la la laaaaa!

  2. Well, the gov’t isn’t getting its vig here, so assume this will be shut down since the food isn’t inspected or something.
    Oh, wait! They’re storing it on *wood shelves*!

  3. This small project has had a huge impact but the significance of it is much larger. With similar small efforts in neighborhoods all over America, we could end the huge problem of hunger in our country.

    It’s not really ending the problem, as much as temporarily alleviating it. I still support it and think local charity is the only way to go, rather than government theft and waste, but the problem will still be there the week after the program stops.
    This should be seen as part of a plan to reduce hunger or poverty. If it is joined by a reduction in taxes so people can keep their money and reduction in regulations so people can create/ get jobs, along with other possible steps, then we are on the right path. I always laugh at people who say they can end poverty, hunger or something like that.

  4. If you feed them, they’ll never leave!

    Watch as the number of needy families mysteriously grow in Tucson, it’s on their hands now.

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