Not a HUGE fan of Thoreau. A few quotes, too often repeated, and usually in a manner that suggests that they must contain such wisdom as will answer all questions. Nevertheless, every once in a while I come across something surprising and revealing.
If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life...There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. ... Do not ... be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.
From Walden by Henry David Thoreau