There’s a story told about an elderly lady in Arkansas. The state voted to increase welfare payments to indigents. Hoping for a tear-jerker story, a television interviewer went into the back hills where many welfare recipients lived.
The old woman he chose to interview lived in a one-room shack: draughty in winter; stifling in summer. Her bed was a few rough planks nailed together, with a pine-needle mattress. A couple thin blankets, and a fireplace, did little to protect her from the cold.
Her furniture, a table and two chairs, were fashioned from the same rough wood as her bed. Some shelves held a few cans of food from the general store, a three mile walk down the road.
Several jars of preserves and a few squash completed her larder.She had no fridge or freezer. The fireplace provided heat for cooking. With no phone or television her only connection with the outside world was an old radio that pulled in two or three local stations on a good day.
The old woman had one convenience, running water. A crystal clear stream gurgled a short distance behind her home.
A small garden near her back door provided fresh vegetables during the summer, and some squash and turnips for the winter. A tidy flower garden brightened the front of her house.
The television crew arrived and set up their big expensive cameras. Their mobile station broadcast pictures of the woman and the place she called home.
Eventually the interviewer asked the old woman, “If the government gave you $200 more each month, what would you do with it?”
Without hesitation the woman replied, “I’d give it to the poor.”