Helping Poverty: How YOU Can Make a Change

January 30, 2020
Paul Rodney TurnerPaul Rodney Turner

It’s estimated that around 800 million people live in poverty around the globe. How can we help these people and what can YOU do to make real change?

What are the 3 types of poverty?

Poverty occurs when people do not have the material possessions or income required to fulfill their basic needs for life. Poverty can include social, economic, or political factors outside of a person’s control.

1. Absolute Poverty

Absolute poverty is the condition in which a person does not earn the minimum amount of income to cover their minimum requirements as a human being over an extended period of time. 

These basic requirements include:

  • Food
  • Safe drinking water
  • Sanitation facilities
  • Adequate health care
  • Shelter
  • Education 
  • Access to information (computer, mobile phone, television, radio, etc.)
  • Access to services (schools, hospitals, etc.)

Life in absolute poverty is dangerous for an individual as they are without the essential living conditions that contribute to that person’s health, education, and ultimately, their survival.


 2. Relative Poverty

Relative poverty occurs when a person does not get the income required to maintain the average standard of living for the society they live within. For example, It’s thought that 40 million people live in relative poverty in the United States of America, One of the richest countries on the planet.

Relative poverty is used to help measure the level of poverty in each individual country. If people within their own country are unable to keep up with the average standard of living determined by their society, they are deemed impoverished. As it is relative, it changes over time, adjusting in relation to the country’s economy and standard of living.


The main causes of relative poverty include:

  • Unemployment
  • Poor Education
  • Poor Health

Life in relative poverty can be extremely demoralizing and destructive to an individual and their family. Without support, they could become homeless. 

3. Secondary Poverty

Secondary poverty is the result of a person who has sufficient income for the necessities of life but they spend that income on other things such as gambling, tobacco, or alcohol and drug addiction. 

Secondary poverty can be helped by limiting the gambling industry’s activity, enforcing new laws that deter people from spending their money on non-necessities, and improving education surrounding these factors.

Every country in the world has people who suffer from secondary poverty. 



How Can We Help End Poverty?

There are many things that we can all do to help end poverty right now. People, charities, and organizations need your support, determination, and for you to voice your concern. 

Here are 5 things we can do to help end poverty.

1. Donate

Most people in the world do not have the privilege of disposable income. You can put some of yours to good use by donating to one of the many charities across the world helping in the fight against poverty.

2. Volunteer

Your money helps but your time can be just as important. Whether you serve soup to the homeless in your own community or help build a school in Ethiopia, your time is valuable.

3. Sign Petitions

There are thousands of people and organizations making real positive change through petitions that aim to help those in need. All they require is your signature to be heard officially by governments, world leaders, and big corporations.

4. Support Minimum Wage Increases

Perpetual economic growth doesn’t always result in higher wages for the working class, meaning many people fall victim to relative poverty. You can help by supporting an increase in the minimum wage in your country.

5. Fight for Action on Climate Change

Poverty and climate change are deeply intertwined. If climate experts’ predictions unfold, it will be the poorest countries in the world that are affected first. Natural disasters, water shortages, food shortages, power outages, and failing economies all pose serious risks to those that are the most vulnerable. 



What Are Some Examples of Poverty?

Absolute Poverty

A family living in absolute poverty would not be earning enough to feed or shelter themselves properly. They may have no access to education and spend most of their time finding whatever food they can get from the surrounding land. The family would be in a constant struggle to feed themselves and regularly incur disease and suffer extreme hunger. 

Relative Poverty

A family of four people living in the USA in 1990 with a yearly income of less than $12,100 would be living in relative poverty. Compare this to 2010, they would have to have an income of less than $22,050 to still be living in relative poverty in the USA.

Secondary Poverty

A family suffering from secondary poverty may have one or more people in the family who spend most of their income on unnecessary things such as the act of gambling, buying alcohol, cigarettes and/or drugs. Often, people with serious addictions spend their money on all four of these things on a regular basis.  

This unnecessary expense through addiction puts the family at risk with little money left to cover necessities such as food, education, healthcare, and household expenses.   


How Do We Define Poverty?

Put simply, poverty is not having enough money to support a person’s basic living needs. We can all help change the state of poverty by working together with our communities, local governments, corporations, world leaders and world organizations. 

Educational Programs

Learning about poverty is essential in helping the fight against it. If we don’t understand the issues and how poverty is created, we can not properly identify solutions that will be effective. 

Educational programs are therefore vital in the fight against poverty. They can help to spread awareness of the key issues and inform people, communities and the government on how to help make a change to people’s lives affected by poverty.  


One of the best ways to help end poverty is by creating and supporting channels of food supplies for those communities in need. This could be anything from a regular soup kitchen in downtown Manhattan to regular food supply drops in the heart of a community living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Food For Life has been distributing plant-based meals to some of the most desperate communities in the world for over 40 years. Our projects help us to serve over 2 million plant-based meals every day in over 60 different countries around the world. You can learn more about what it means to be vegan and start your journey. 


Making a simple donation on a regular basis can help support the hard work of charities like Food for Life in their mission to help those that are suffering in extreme poverty

Support Local Families

Ending poverty relies on communities to come together and support each other. This means supporting your local soup kitchen, helping local families with donations, providing them with necessities, finding them better employment and uplifting them in any way we can. 

Community Improvement

We need to help each other by demanding more from our local governments, asking them to support those in need by creating initiatives that uplift them. Unfortunately, helping those most in need is rarely a priority and we need communities to come together to demand that they do more.

homeless with dog

Together, we can help end poverty.   


Donate Now

Support the important work of Food for Life Global to serve its international network of over 200 affiliates in 60 countries.
Food for Life Global is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, EIN 36-4887167. All donations are deemed tax-deductible absent any limitations on deductibility applicable to a particular taxpayer. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contribution.

Food For Life Global’s primary mission is to bring about peace and prosperity in the world through the liberal distribution of pure plant-based meals prepared with loving intention.

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