Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement

Front Cover
Penguin, Aug 1, 1999 - Social Science - 368 pages
In this era of eroding commitment to government sponsored welfare programs, voluntarism and private charity have become the popular, optimistic solutions to poverty and hunger. The resurgence of charity has to be a good thing, doesn't it? No, says sociologist Janet Poppendieck, not when stopgap charitable efforts replace consistent public policy, and poverty continues to grow.In Sweet Charity?, Poppendieck travels the country to work in soup kitchens and "gleaning" centers, reporting from the frontlines of America's hunger relief programs to assess the effectiveness of these homegrown efforts. We hear from the "clients" who receive meals too small to feed their families; from the enthusiastic volunteers; and from the directors, who wonder if their "successful" programs are in some way perpetuating the problem they are struggling to solve. Hailed as the most significant book on hunger to appear in decades, Sweet Charity? shows how the drive to end poverty has taken a wrong turn with thousands of well-meaning volunteers on board.

What people are saying - Write a review

SWEET CHARITY?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement

User Review  - Kirkus

A magnificent work of engaged scholarship analyzing hunger in modern America and the private and public responses to it. Poppendieck (Sociology/Hunter Coll.; Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat, not ... Read full review

Sweet charity?: emergency food and the end of entitlement

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Poppendieck (director of the Ctr. for the Study of Family Policy, Hunter Coll., CUNY) examines whether volunteerism, food pantries, and soup lines do more harm than good in this thought-provoking work ... Read full review


CHAPTER ONE Charity for
CHAPTER TWO Who Eats Emergency Food?
CHAPTER THREE The Rise of Emergency Food
From Shoestring to Stability
CHAPTER FIVE The Uses of Emergency Food
CHAPTER SIX The Seductions of Charity
CHAPTER SEVEN Whats Wrong with Emergency Food? The Seven Deadly
CHAPTER EIGHT Charity and Dignity
CHAPTER NINE The Ultimate BandAid
Selected Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Janet Poppendieck is a professor of sociology at Hunter College of the City University of New York and Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression.

Bibliographic information