Rich Brown: Free sessions help people get off welfare

Hannah Hull, regional director of True Charity Initiative, talks about the upcoming TCI events at three area churches. Globe | Anne Brown 

Three little words forming the name of a Joplin ministry are not “I love you” — but they could be.

True Charity Initiative, which operates under the oversight of Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission with the endorsement of the Joplin Area Ministerial Alliance, is based on faith in God and love for mankind.

The love comes through by helping those living in poverty, but the philosophy of True Charity Initiative goes a little further by being a thoughtful multi-faceted approach to offering that help with just and effective alternatives to welfare.

Hannah Hull, regional director of TCI, said the ministry works with people in communities to develop effective charity without having to rely on welfare.

One way to do that is to educate people on how to replace government welfare programs with community cooperation.

As a means to that end, TCI has scheduled events at three area churches to inform people about the seriousness of poverty and how to deal with it in an effective manner.

Each free two-hour session will begin with an award-winning documentary, “Poverty, Inc.,” that was filmed in over 20 countries and takes an in-depth look at how to help with poverty or rethink it.

Following the 55-minute documentary, a breakout session will allow participants to select from one of three sessions: “The ABC’s of Effective Charity,” “My Journey: From Homeless to Success,” or “Partnership: the Cure for Paternalism.”

Churches partnering with TCI and holding the events are St. Paul’s United Methodist, Joplin Family Worship Center and Christ’s Church of Oronogo.

“We are holding the events on three days to try and get as many people involved in the community as possible,” said Hull.

Concerning the “ABC’s of Effective Charity,” the aim will be to find ways of rethinking poverty in the community.

A panel will be on hand for “My Journey: From Homeless to Success.”

“We will have a panel of four people who were previously homeless or addicted in some way and are getting back into the community,” Hull said. “This will be a great opportunity for them to share their stories, answer questions and have a discussion. People will be able to find out what poverty recovery looks like.”

In “Partnership: the Cure for Paternalism,” a mobile workshop, known as a “worth shop,” will be set up to show how people in need can come and work to meet their needs.

In addition, James Whitford, founder and executive director of Watered Gardens, will be on hand to give a lesson on “The ABC’s of Effective Compassion.”

Whitford is also the founder of TCI, which is branching out to other cities after being established in Joplin three years ago.

Hull said she hopes the breakout sessions will help people rethink poverty in every aspect.

“Poverty has a much broader range than we normally think,” she said. “It is not all about material resources. These resources can be financial, but they can also be socially relational or in a maturity level that hinders one from getting a job.”

Want to Go?

Anyone wishing to register for free True Charity Initiative events Tuesday at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, June 6 at Joplin Family Worship Center or June 25 at Christ’s Church of Oronogo may visit: The events, starting at 6:30 p.m., will open with a 55-minute film, “Poverty, Inc.,” and continue with breakout sessions in the following hour. More information: 417-986-4673.

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