Radio Address to the Nation on Voluntarism
My fellow Americans:
and I hope you and your family are enjoying this holiday season. This is a time
of two religious observances which go to the heart of
of the opportunities my current job affords me is having the access to
information that gives me a broad picture of what is happening throughout our
country. There is always much to improve. But I can assure you that the spirit
of good will and benevolence, an aspect of our national character recognized
since the early days of our Republic, remains a vibrant part of the American
way of life. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that since 1980
charitable giving in the
stories are as numerous as they are heartwarming. One of them is about an
Then there's Ruth Heywood, of Casa Grande, Arizona -- a single woman, 74 years old, living only on her pension benefits. Even though her own financial resources are limited, she overflows with love and is dedicated to helping others. Each year she spearheads a local effort to provide the needy and the poor in spirit a festive Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration. Ruth provides the energy and the inspiration. As the holiday season approaches, she visits grocers all over town to solicit donations of food, plates, and utensils. She coordinates transportation and arranges meals to be delivered to the homebound. She also handwrites hundreds of invitations and personally gives them to the less-fortunate citizens of her community. Every year people who thought they were unloved and forgotten are shown that people do care. The people of Casa Grande are proud of Ruth. We can all be proud of her.
recently received a letter from David Rayl of Bald
Most of us know someone like Bob Carver, Ruth Heywood, or David Rayl. Down deep, who cannot but respect such heroes? I'd like to think there's a little of them in each and every American. Certainly, from our earliest days, we weren't waiting for the Government or depending on the bureaucracy before we helped each other. President Thomas Jefferson once wrote: ``I deem it the duty of every man to devote a certain portion of his income for charitable purposes, and that it is his further duty to see it so applied as to do the most good of which it is capable.''
Helping others is just our way, part of our national character. Perhaps it reflects that we as a people not only enjoy this holiday every year as time off from work but also take to heart the spiritual meaning of Christmas and Hanukkah.
Finally, Nancy and I want to wish each of you our very best wishes for the New Year. Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President recorded his address on December 23 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on December 26 at