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TWENTY-SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHARITIES

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and know something of private outdoor relief and of the necessary relations between the dispensers of public outdoor relief and the almoners of private relief.

As far as I can remember, when a city has abolished public outdoor relief, the cause is more in the dishonesty of the officials than in the giving of the aid itself. We have not been entirely free from trouble on this score in Boston. When the overseers were elected by ballot at the polls, each ward electing its own overseer, there was sharp competition among the grocers in some wards as to the one to whom should be assigned the tender and beautiful duty of giving aid to the needy in that section. The more he gave out, the more charitable he was considered, and in some cases the more profitable it was to himself. Now the mayor nominates and the aldermen confirm four citizens each year, to serve three years. Two women are on the Board, and are among its most useful members. The overseers serve without pay.

The office staff of clerks and visitors of course are paid. The office is open daily, except Sunday, the whole year through. Every person asking for aid is given prompt and careful attention, whether the applicant comes in person or makes his appeal through another, the visitors going to the homes of the poor to better judge, by personal observation and inquiry, of their actual needs.

Some of our local charity societies suspend operations during the warm weather, many of our benevolent individuals are absent in the country, or some other country, for the summer; but the overseers are always at hand. Aid, as a rule, is given in groceries from the storehouse of the Board, insuring against abuse of an order on a grocer. Applicants living within a reasonable distance of the storehouse, and able to carry the supplies, call for them at the storehouse. Those living at a considerable distance receive their allowance by express, the cost of carriage being paid by the Board. Grants in money are given, when the aid in food or fuel will not serve so well. Shoes or clothing are not distributed by the Board.

For burial expenses the Board paid in 1894 over four thousand dollars. The efficiency of the Board's service depends on the intelligence and devoted energy of the office staff. One great advantage in the public service of the outdoor poor is, undoubtedly, in the training of the visitors, who have become admirably fitted for their duty by years of constant practice under the eyes of the overseers, as well as of the secretary of the Board, who is a salaried man, always in the office.

Reports of the visitors made up for each individual are carefully and impartially prepared. The visitor bases his opinion on the merits of the application, on the legal rights, and the actual proved needs of the applicant. Pending investigation, aid is not withheld, but given at once, and, until definitely passed on, is marked “Probably city” or Probably State," as may seem to be the case. The visitor has no concern with the nationality or the religion of the person asking for aid.

I say now, as my deliberate opinion, that, while the outdoor poor of the city of Boston are served by as honest and capable a set of public-spirited men and women as are doing the work to-day, there will be no occasion to disband the Board or to abandon outdoor relief through public channels.

In cases of unusual emergency the Board has not hesitated for one hour to place itself in the front of the conflict and to put its whole strength in instant play. An inundation of part of our city filled the streets with water to the height of ten feet, so that the lower stories in some places were submerged. A thousand families in this way were in want of immediate supplies of food and fuel. The Board at once put all its visitors, familiar with the district, at work, employed temporary help, and sent boats through the streets with needed supplies to all who required them. The local charitable organizations fell into line, and, under the general direction of the overseers, worked for a week or more, until the danger had passed. Last year a fire swept through a district full of wooden houses occupied by our humbler people. The same organization that went through the flood to their relief now went through the fire, the local charities co-operating until the emergency was over.

With us there is no rivalry between public agency for outdoor relief and private agencies. We have come, by association, to know there is a field for each, though the same field may at times be occupied in common, to the increased advantage of the poor, whom both serve. I have found on the part of the paid public visitor in our city as true and tender a regard for the feelings of the poor as I find in the average of the volunteer visitors, and, taken man for man, the trained public visitor is a more judicious and wiser helper than the average volunteer visitor, whose zeal is greater than his experience.

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Long training and hard experience are needed to properly fit any one to do good visiting among our poor, whether the visitor works for salary or from love only. Though our overseers are not paid, they give much time and thought to the duties of their office. Any complaint, however trifling it may at first appear, is at once and carefully investigated. It would not be safe for any officer to disregard the warning his first offence would bring on him.

The same Board has charge of the Temporary Home for Women and Children, and the Wayfarer's Lodge for Men. It has charge of trust funds amounting to $700,000, placed in its hands as a corporation, for distinct purposes in relief-work. The Board is not a stepping-stone to political advancement, and its traditions are all against jobbery or junketing Membership means hard work, many cares, and small thanks.

As to co-operation in charitable work in Boston, the public and most of the private charities are centred in the Charity Building. Co-operation has grown out of neighborhood and pleasant personal relations between officers of the various societies and the public officers. No prescribed lines are set. Each calls on the other as it may have need. A reciprocity of interests has established a sort of communion of thoughts and works.

The Provident Association gives clothes and shoes and other aid to help out the overseers and the other societies. The Associated Charities are busy among all, going to one or the other as there may be occasion. The St. Vincent de Paul Society has two paid agents in its office in the Charity Building, acting in co-operation with public and private charities whenever there is need for it. The Industrial Aid finds employment for persons sent in from other societies. So, without any printed schedule, the various charities, public and private, have reached a way of working together; and, as time goe on, and they know more of each other, co-operation will becom more frequent and effective.

In saying that public outdoor relief, as administered by the ovi seers of the poor in Boston, is honestly and efficiently managed, I not wish to be understood as claiming public outdoor relief thro municipal or State officials to be the best method of dispensing form of aid. To

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mind the best method is found in the pers friendship of wise and competent private individuals, who give own time as well as their own money, when needed, to the m

woman struggling in the toils of distress. When our Lord said that the love of our neighbor is next to the love of God, he gave to each of us a mission to the needy. “Go, thou, and do likewise," is not a mere counsel or suggestion : it is a command; and in the Great Day each of us must stand alone, face to face with the Judge, and must answer him how we have kept, or how we have neglected, his command in this respect.

At the head of all forms of material relief I place personal visitation to the distressed. In the home of the poor, and not in our own home nor in our office, but under the roof of the poor man's house, let us work out our mission to the poor. Here in private we may see the print of the nails that have wounded his life. Here we lift from his head the crown of thorns that tortures and blinds him. Here let us give our brother our best counsel, our love, and, when needed, what material aid we can of ourselves bestow or procure for him.

Man does not live by bread alone. Friendship, sympathy, strength, and fresh hope we can freely give, and be none the poorer, but the richer, for giving.

But personal service, though the best, has its limitations. One cannot, in justice to himself or to other duties, always visit nor always give. Hence association with kindred spirits in charitable societies becomes a necessity to most of us. Each can contribute some of his time, his money, or his counsel for the common good of the whole; and this accumulation goes out to the poor as the offering of each one.

Saint Thomas says, “Charity, chief of the virtues, ceases to be even a virtue, when wise order is missing from it." Probably none are better qualified to heartily indorse this saying of the angelic doctor than this Conference of Charities. The very purpose of this Conference is to study the needs of the poor and to suggest the wisest methods of dealing with them. Each one who speaks here adds his mite to the common stock of information. He does more than that: he gives to every worker in the cause of charity renewed strength in the thought that he is not working alone. To rescue a boy or girl from a life of vice and misery is to add to the happy homes of our country, to raise up a good citizen, to give another good woman as a crown and a blessing to a fireside. Think of their children stretching out into generations of good men and good

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women! Who can measure the gain to our country? No one but
God, the common Father of us all. It is in meetings like this that
the seed of great good is sown. Some of us may highly resolve to
devote more of our life to active charity than before, and in such
meetings as this the way to do good work is made clear to us.

Members of the Conference of Charities, who from all over this
fair land of ours have come to counsel and encourage one another in
the cause of our delinquent, our dependent, and defective fellow-
beings, you who voluntarily have become as eyes for them who are
blind, who speak for some who cannot speak for themselves, who
aim to be a strength to the weak, a shield against those who would
oppress them, to you I express the earnest wish that the widening
spirit of brotherly love may yearly add to your numbers and increase
your strength. May the wisdom of your counsel become so ap-
parent that your influence for good shall be felt from ocean to ocean,
affecting public as well as private action in all that relates to the
complex problems of charity and correction !

I am grateful that an opportunity has been given me to take even a small part in the meeting, and shall go home to my own work the stronger and better for personal contact with the members of the National Conference of Charities.

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RELIEF IN CHICAGO.

THE BEST PROGRAM FOR FUTURE RELIEF.

BY REV. C. G. TRUSDELL, D.D.

We limit public relief in Chicago to the arrangements made by th. county commissioners for the care of the poor. I do not say pa pers, for I do not like the word as applied to poor people general The term “poor” may include paupers and sometimes criminals, i the great proportion of the poor people in Chicago are neither cri inals nor paupers. I do not believe that the number of those w permanently and willingly depend upon charity, or who seek

to by fraud and indolence, is as one to ten of the whole number of

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