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Friendly Visiting among the Poor A Handbook for Charity Workers   By: (1861-1928)

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Friendly Visiting among the Poor is a comprehensive guide that offers invaluable insights and practical advice on the noble act of charity. Authored by Mary Ellen Richmond, a prominent social worker of her time, this handbook is a timeless resource for individuals seeking to make a positive difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

Richmond's writing style is accessible and engaging, making it easy for readers to connect with the content. She begins by emphasizing the importance of fostering genuine relationships when engaging in friendly visiting. Drawing from her vast experience in the field, she provides numerous anecdotes and examples to illustrate the challenges and rewards of this form of charity work.

The author goes above and beyond in her attempt to educate and equip charity workers with the necessary skills and knowledge. From discussing the ethical considerations of friendly visiting to addressing the potential pitfalls and boundaries that need to be respected, Richmond covers all the bases. She offers practical advice on handling sensitive situations, building trust, and promoting self-sufficiency among the individuals being helped.

One of the most commendable aspects of Richmond's approach is her emphasis on empowering those in need. Instead of perpetuating dependency, she advocates for fostering independence and resilience within the communities being served. She stresses the importance of listening, understanding, and respecting the unique circumstances of each person, ultimately encouraging a more holistic and sustainable approach to charity work.

Friendly Visiting among the Poor is a vital resource not only for charity workers but also for anyone interested in social justice and poverty alleviation. Richmond's profound understanding of the challenges faced by both the impoverished and the individuals aiming to assist them adds credibility and depth to her writings. She demonstrates that charity work is not just a matter of providing material goods but also, and perhaps more importantly, about embracing empathy, understanding, and collaboration.

Although published a century ago, this book remains remarkably relevant today. Its principles and ideas endure the test of time and offer guidance to those seeking to engage in compassionate work. Richmond's eloquence and passion for the subject shine through, inspiring and motivating readers to embark on their own journey of friendly visiting.

Overall, Friendly Visiting among the Poor is a must-read for anyone with an interest in charity work and social welfare. Richmond's expertise, combined with her heartfelt writing style, makes this handbook an essential resource for both beginners and seasoned charity workers alike. It provides a solid foundation for fostering meaningful connections and making a lasting impact on the lives of those in need.

First Page:

E text prepared by Al Haines

Transcriber's note:

Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed in curly braces, e.g. {99}. They have been located where page breaks occurred in the original book. For its Index, a page number has been placed only at the start of that section.

Footnotes have been renumbered sequentially and moved to the end of their respective chapters.


A Handbook for Charity Workers



General Secretary of the Charity Organization Society of Baltimore

New York The MacMillan Company

London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd.


All rights reserved

Copyright, 1899, by The MacMillan Company.

Set up and electrotyped January, 1899.

Reprinted November, 1899; February, 1903; February, 1906; November, 1907.



This little volume is intended as a handbook for those who are beginning to do charitable work in the homes of the poor, whether as individuals or as representatives of some church, or of some religious society, such as the King's Daughters, the Epworth League, or the Christian Endeavor Society. The term "friendly visitor" does not apply to one who aimlessly visits the poor for a little while, without making any effort to improve their condition permanently or to be a real friend to them... Continue reading book >>

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