To reflect on Citizens' Action in the Struggle Against Hunger and Destitution and in Defense of Life is to seek to approach the dilemmas and challenges involving the consolidation of citizenship and social justice, as well as the forces in action in contemporary Brazilian society. However, many questions remain open in this effort. The intertwining issues of poverty, politics, and solidarity and the concrete shapes and multiple social developments of Brazil's "Campaign Against Hunger" leave room for various possible interpretations. Thus, considering the breadth of the theme on the one hand and the limits of this article on the other, the objective is to explore some relevant issues in the debate on destitution and exclusion and the process of constructing new kinds of public social intervention and civic participation, arising over the course of the study conducted by the "Citizens' Action Committees" in Rio de Janeiro during 1996 and 1997. The basic idea is to focus on volunteer practices to discuss the dilemmas posed for solving impoverishment and social fragmentation through cooperative activities and mutual help in Brazil.