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Helping those who are in need.

What does that mean? Does that mean to help people with anything they want, i.e. buy them the latest fashion accessories, or does it mean to help them with their basic needs, i.e. food, water, shelter etc?

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From an economics/developmental perspective, need implies the basic necessities of food, clothing, water and shelter, while want may refer to any humanly desires. Thus want is a broader term than need.

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With no context, it means basic requirements, food, shelter, etc. The implied rest of the sentence would be "Helping those who are in need of something to eat" or something like that.

However, it might be used in a more ironic way, and so could mean almost anything. "In need of a make-over", or "In need of drink"(meaning alcohol).

So, possibly both.

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Helping those who are in need.

Generally refers to people who are in harsh living conditions.

So, a need is something that they need to survive.

For a better reference and understanding check out Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

A want is just that. Something that you desire or wish for in order to live more comfortably.

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