I love a good deal! In fact, I'm an active participant in a local Facebook "Buy Sell Nothing" group where I've found many free items from folks who are happy to give their unwanted items away. However, when it comes to poverty alleviation-- free is NOT the answer.
“When you give away something free, you’re giving away a band aid. You’re not addressing deeper causes [of poverty] and you may be inhibiting long-term solutions. Poor people aren’t poor because they lack stuff; they’re poor because they lack the infrastructure to create wealth.” - Michael Matheson Miller, director of PovertyCure, a group promoting entrepreneurial solutions to poverty.
We've all heard the old adage that teaching a man to fish is better than simply giving him a fish. Now I will argue that if a natural disaster just struck and he is in desperate need to eat because he's lost everything, then for goodness sakes just give the man a fish! However, to really help the man he needs much more than a quick, free meal. He needs a livelihood. His entire community needs local businesses to flourish.
Water at Work Ministry doesn't just provide people with safe water. Our aim is help establish local water businesses so that entire communities can have better health and more economic prosperity to truly flourish. They don't simply want hand outs.
Article link: https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/one-one-business-model-social-impact-avoiding-unintended-consequences/