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Neither the work of friendly visiting nor the pushing of penny provident schemes, nor the operation of a wood-yard, and, most of all, not the giving of relief, will he allow to distract him from a survey of the whole field, and from the endeavor to improve by better co-ordination the charitable efforts of the community. He is determined that the field shall be covered with some measure of adequacy, and that charitable forces shall not be wasted in competitive and misdirected efforts." This co-ordinating of the various departments of moral effort is admirably illustrated in the case of the local society here in New Haven, its board of directors being composed of representatives of the New Haven Aid Society, United Workers, New Haven Orphan Asylum, Young Women's Christian Association, Leila Day Nursery, Home for Friendless, Hebrew Benevolent Society, the German Society, New Haven Hospital, the Dispensary, the town police department, city courts, churches, and the community at large. In such a combined force as this, surely, the work which the society at Lawrence, Mass., declares that charity should do should be thoroughly and intelligently done, _“Investigate, relieve promptly, permit nowise alms to the unworthy, raise into independence, save children from pauperism." But, for a fuller example still of this method of organization, Denver stands conspicuous among our smaller cities, and seems thus far to have answered our question the most satisfactorily of us all. The society reports fifteen benevolent societies co-operating with and also receiving appropriations from the Charity Organization Society. The list is an instructive namely, Day Nursery, Ladies' Relief Association, Denver Orphans' Home, Denver Flower Mission, Tabernacle Free Dispensary, Homeopathic Free Dispensary, Temporary Home for Friendless Children, North Denver Ladies' Relief Society, Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society, St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum, St. Vincent de Paul Society, House of Good Shepherd, St. Joseph's Hospital, Colorado Humane Society, and St. Luke's Hospital; also, as “honorary members,” the mayor, ministers, chairman Board of County Commissioners, sheriff of county, chief of police, president of State Board of Charities, chairman of Health Board, and county and city physicians. It has a weekly conference, and boasts of a complete circle of charities. It spent $20,648.09 in 1892-93, of which $3,600 was at the Central Office. Its receipts from the city were $9,999.96, and from subscribers $10,524. The trustees of the
charity fund are empowered to have charge of all collections and
To pass now from this interesting object-lesson of what we may call the best method of organization for relief where it may be possible in any degree to attain it, let us consider finally the work which outside of that of co-operating societies the Charity Organization Society may best do in the care of the poor. It is of wide range and most inspiring character as we read of it in the reports of the various cities.
It is at one time bent on removing conditions which may produce poverty and crime, at another intended to punish the wrong-doer and protect the innocent and suffering, at still another it is comforting the sick and educating and guarding the characters
When all is good, who can say what is best? The whole list of wonderfully wise ways which our men and women are taking of raising and blessing their fellows in this glorious century of ours is, as a grand whole, the record of what we want to know, the best method of relief. I find nothing to omit and nothing to choose. Like all life, each part taken alone is petty, but all together is great and divine. Some things in it we already know of, others we need to know of. I will give them to you just as I hay, found them in each city's earnest work, trusting to your thoughts t interpret their value to you.
Fitchburg has a loan closet and a department for repairing a selling of half-worn clothing, also a system of sending plain w.
of the young
to the homes of the women. There is also instruction given in home nursing. An auxiliary committee has also been formed, composed of men from the various shops in whom the employers and the employees have confidence, who shall be representatives of the society in their respective places of work. An intereresting connection with the overseers of the poor has been formed. All new applicants for aid, with a residence in the city, are referred by them to the society; and, if slight aid has been given by the city, the society pays the bill, and the man's name is stricken from the pauper list. By this means about one hundred families have been saved from becoming paupers.
In Syracuse, N.Y., we find a desire for a pawn-brokers' association, there being loans of from $10 to $50 at 150 per cent. interest.
Newburg, N.Y., has a library of reference, a fund for supplying milk and delicacies to the sick, and lectures on first aid to the injured.
Orange, N.J., maintains night lodging-houses, with tickets at ten cents each; also free kindergartens, a coal club, a work and sales committee, kitchen school, and sewing school.
Denver has an employment bureau and a visiting nurse.
Wilmington, Del., has a wood-yard, a clean towel supply, a selfsupporting fund, a penny provident fund, country week, sick-diet kitchen, fuel savings fund, and woman's library.
Plainfield, N.J., carries on a mothers' class.
Springfield has a rag-carpet industry, and has just procured loans of pieces of land for cultivation by the poor.
Pittsfield has a standing committee of men and women to procure employment. Newport gives bulbs and seeds. Thus far have methods suggested themselves as the work has developed. But there are two evils yet to be remedied, for which methods of relief have not yet been found. One is the old familiar one of drink, the short sentences with which now it is punished leaving but short intervals for the repairing and elevation of the drunkard's family. The other evil is idleness, to which the whole system of outdoor relief contributes steadily, so long as it exacts no labor in return for the aid given.
This method of relief which we find here existing in our small cities, with its close investigation and yet sympathetic care and friendly visiting, is, to my mind, not to be considered merely as the
TWENTY-SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHARITIES
best method under the circumstances, but inherently so. Not that it is perfect, as some day it may come to be, but its principles and its spirit are right. It is a happy medium between the past and the future of the city's life. It is protecting it in its dangers of rapid growth, while it is perpetuating all that was best in its village neighborliness of old days. It must grow, as are the duty and right of everything which lives; but it has not to be superseded by something better. It will hold its own as the city grows, and questions its usefulness more and more. But one thing it must do. As one worker has well said, “We have not done enough to improve the quality of this life we are guarding so carefully.” It must struggle persistently to get above the material, and see the soul in every man. That is the one peril of a method anywhere, and especially is it dangerous to use method in dealing with our fellow-men. That is where the rebellion of our critics, both among the poor and the rich, starts,- in the instinctive shrinking of the soul from method. We need our brother's warning constantly, and let us remember always the quality of life more than quantity. “It is an easy matter," says some one, “to minister to physical wants; but to re-create a person, to restore lost manhood and womanhood, is a labor of love that requires patience, wisdom, courage, nerve." Carlyle tells us of “the gift of life which a man can have but once; for he waited for a whole eternity to be born, and now has a whole eternity waiting to see what he will do when born.” We must teach man always the aspiration of Browning, that flesh may help the soul :
“Let us not always say,
Spirit, of this flesh to-day
OUTDOOR PUBLIC RELIEF IN MASSACHUSETTS.
BY THOMAS F. RING,
PRESIDENT OF THE PARTICULAR COUNCIL OF THE ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
Public relief of the poor in Massachusetts is a duty placed upon a board in each city and town, known as the overseers of the poor. Except in the city of Boston the overseers have also charge of the almshouses.
Outdoor public relief is mandatory. The law provides that the overseers shall relieve all poor in their cities and towns who stand in need of such relief. The extent, nature, and duration of the assistance depend on the particular circumstances of the applicant. If he has a settlement in the town in which he lives, the cost of partial support is charged to the appropriation for the town's poor. If he has a settlement in one town, but lives in another in the State, the town in which he lives will give the aid, charging the cost to the town in which he holds a settlement, at the same time notifying the latter town or city. If the applicant has no settlement in any city or town in the Commonwealth, temporary aid may be given by the town overseers, the cost being charged to the State, notice being sent to the State Board of Charity. The State Board will allow a limited amount to be expended in outdoor aid, but reserves the right to order it stopped and to direct the transfer of the applicant to some State almshouse at any time.
To cover the case of temporary as given once to some needy person passing through the city, the Boston overseers have allowed the payment of small amounts at the discretion of the secretary of the Board. Within this list all the outdoor poor are comprised.
We have, then, to deal with a long-standing custom, sanctioned by law and supported at the cost of the public purse, in considering outdoor public relief. If honestly and carefully administered, I am decidedly in favor of continuing it as it is done in Boston, and, as far as I am aware, in the State of Massachusetts. I know something of the practical workings of outdoor public relief in Boston, having served nearly nine years on the Board of Overseers. For thirty years I have been a worker in the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Boston,