Visions of Charity: Volunteer Workers and Moral Community, by Rebecca Anne Allahyari
Despite the formidable accumulation of research documenting the decline of moral community, Rebecca Anne Allahyari offers an optimistic perspective. A visiting professor of religious studies and sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara, Allahyari investigated moral formation among volunteers at Loaves and Fishes and at the Salvation Army in Sacramento, California. She shows how volunteers develop moral community and compassion in caring for others through participation in these programs. Both programs provide food for the urban poor, but the moral vision and social realities of the two charities are significantly different. Allahyari explores how these differences result in different kinds of moral development among the volunteers (a process she calls "moral selving").