I do not think it's bad to give to the poor.
In fact, I believe it is our moral obligation as human beings to care for those less fortunate than ourselves by sharing things we have.
There are those among us who believe that giving to the poor only encourages laziness and creates a dependency cycle that is hard to break.
While that sounds good in theory, and excuses us from helping others and giving away that which we worked hard for, it doesn't really hold water in the real world.
People tend to treat others the way they have been treated. In raising our children, my wife and I have tried to be generous and giving, rather than trying to teach "lessons" of you can only get what you earn. Our four children, of various ages, now have no problem giving away their pocket money, toys, and popcorn to strangers and friends alike.
That's not to say they've never had a selfish moment.
But generosity begets generosity. People treat others the way they've been treated.
When I was young, my mother (who was a single Mum with four kids) often relied on welfare payments to make ends meet. She worked when she could, and took great pride in any work she did. While we never had a lot growing up, we always had food.
Moreover, because Mum didn't have to work 3 jobs to pay for food and rent, we had a Mum too.
This did not cause my Mother or myself or my siblings to become welfare dependant citizens.
To this day my Mother is a workaholic, always burning herself out with whatever she puts her hand to.
Each of her four sons is either gainfully employed, or run their own businesses and employ others.
Had we been trapped in poverty as children, unable to be educated, fed properly, or feel dignified, who knows the paths we would have chosen?
Of course, I don't give all the credit of turning out four responsible citizens to the welfare state we live in. My mother made incredible sacrifices, and my Dad was there too, albeit at a distance.
But I certainly take no credit for any successes I have. I often think how much I have won the lottery by being born in Australia.
While people around me complain incessantly about taxes, I don't resent paying them. I can see the value in a society contributing to a pool of resources that goes to helping the poor and vulnerable, as well as the elderly and those that put their hand up to work in the public service.
Of course, it's healthy to argue and debate about how those resources are best spent, and high levels of accountability are needed to keep those responsible above board. But the fact is anyone who travels abroad realises how wonderful it is to live here in Australia, and this speaks volumes to how effective our welfare systems have been.
Are there those who will abuse it, and take advantage of the system?
Yes. There are.
Do most people value the dignity of work than getting a handout?
In fact, doing meaningful work is usually more important than the wage or incentive offered. http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html
I urge you not to resent those who depend on welfare. Keep in mind it may take a generation or more for them to get on their feet. But keeping them in poverty and declaring that they have to "work for it" like you did, is arrogant and gives no credit to all those who helped you get to where you are. Moreover, if those who receive welfare know they are loved by their fellow citizens, not resented, perhaps they will look forward to the day when they can give.