Relief Efforts During The Great Depression

1717 words - 7 pages

The Great Depression was a time of hardship for many. People lost their jobs, home, money and almost half the population were under the poverty line. As the rising number of unemployed men and women grew, the states and private organizations took it into their own hands to provide aid for those who needed it. However, the rigorous efforts of these charities and government did not provide much “relief” in the long term. Many people had been taking advantage of these charity organizations and soon enough the question becomes evident, what really is the American dream now?
The economic crisis began in August 1929 when a recession began, but it was not until the stock market crash of October 1929 that a rapid decline in economic stability had sprout. As a result, a year after the crash, banks began to fail because they invested large sums of client money into stocks. Many people began to withdraw all their money out of deposits thus, adding to the financial crisis. The failure of banks and stocks had created a domino effect in which other industries such as automobiles and appliances also failed as a result of less and less customer consumption. Factory owners had no choice but to lay off many people and cut wages furthering the downfall of the economy.
The Great Depression made its reach to the rural areas of the city when the dust bowl had devastated the farmlands. Conditions of severe drought and deep plowing worsened the land to the point where the soil turned to dust. Making the land useless to grow crops and no other methods of income. Millions of farmers had to migrate to cities from the great plains in search of work. To their disadvantage there were practically no jobs available.
With the increase of unemployment, many people took refuge in communities of shacks and tents called hoovervilles. The hoovervilles grew in size as unemployment rose. These shantytowns filled with homeless people heavily relied on soup kitchens and philanthropy to survive. These people had to make use of everything that was available. From using cardboard soles to using horses to pull their cars.
During the time Herbert Hoover made a statement that it was the state and local governments responsibility to create jobs for the unemployed. Due to the little efforts of the federal government intervention to help the poor private and state organizations took it to themselves to provide aid. Private organizations such as the salvation army and faith based charities dominated the efforts to help the poor. Though their efforts were few in contrast to the many that need it.
One of the many charity organizations that attempted to make a difference- the Salvation Army..had made their day view when the unemployment rate had reached 25 percent: “The Salvation Army used 10 years of mass anguish to demonstrate Christ’s love and provide in abundance.”(salvationarmynorth, page 10). The committed charity group had took it upon themselves to deliver gift baskets...

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