Often when people think of helping the poor, they think of one-time events, like free Thanksgiving dinners or toy giveaways at Christmas. While these events are not bad in themselves, they do not have the lasting impact of community development work.
What is meant by community development? In essence, it is a community-directed process by which the poor are able to gain the skills needed for their economic well-being, with the assistance of those who initiated the community development work. Both FASTEN and the CCDA provide more resources on how community development works, and how it differs from regular charity efforts. For an introduction, read Dr. Wayne Gordon's essay "The Eight Components of Christian Community Development."