Humankind: Answering the Need

With the economy tightening, use of food pantries increasing and millions of American families at risk of losing their homes, this new one-hour Humankind documentary, Answering the Need explored: What is our obligation to help people who are struggling? Given the precarious position of so many, how should people of conscience personally react to this debilitating need? Whether through religious congregations or secular volunteerism or simply mailing in a financial donation, what are people's motivations for giving -- and what satisfactions do they derive? The program traveled to a Habitat for Humanity "blitz build" in Georgia where a team of good-humored volunteers are constructing a house -- in 12 days! -- for a single mother and her autistic child; the office of a high-rolling investment banker in Chicago who serves the Salvation Army; a Boston soup kitchen founded in 1966 by a young idealist whose journey since has taught her deep lessons about how to view and help the poor; a medical librarian whose father was illiterate and who today volunteers as a literacy tutor. Others we heard from included Rev. Jim Wallis, best-selling author, who feels that helping the needy is a quest on which religionists left and right can agree.

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