PERSONAL SERVICE FOR THE POOR.
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.")
p. 1113 of the Spectator of December 30th you remark in an article on "London Pauperism" that "if the Guardians" (of a Union named in the article) "had pursued a more enlightened policy, and had enlisted the co-operation of the many people of means and leisure who live in the district, the poor might have been better helped, and pauperism have almost disappeared."
Would you allow me to draw your attention to an effort which the Church Army is making to enlist, not only the sympathies, but the personal service, of the well-to-do on behalf of their poorer brethren by means of the "League of Friends of the Poor " ? The name of a poor family, carefully chosen as a rule from among those who come to the Queen's Labour Depots and our other relief depots for unemployed married men, is allotted to each member of the League. The member then acts as a "friend" of the family, visiting the wife and children, ascertaining their true circumstances and in what way help may most readily be given, and in other ways seeks to become a true friend and helper without any sense of condescension on one side or pauperisation on the other. Visitors are forbidden to give money, and other material help, such as food and clothing, is to be given only in exceptional circumstances. Reports are made at regular intervals at this office, and at other times when special and immediate action is required. We are glad to say that the plan has been taken up most warmly by a considerable number of people in easy circumstances, and also by those of more limited means who have leisure to bestow. We believe that, as it develops, the League will not only be of the utmost value to our Social Department by gaining exact information as to the circumstances of applicants for work, but that it may also become a valuable factor in the problem of bridging over the gulf between rich and poor by restoring confidence between class and class, and teaching the poor that there are rich people who care for them and are willing to share their burdens. I venture to enclose our printed "Plan," setting forth the scheme in greater detail. Mr. H. J. Tory, the hon. secretary of the League, will gladly furnish all particulars on application at this address..
Honorary Chief Secretary.
The Church Army, 55 Bryanston Street, Marble Arch, London, W.