Harry S. Truman photo

Radio Address Opening the Community Chest Campaign.

September 26, 1947

[Delivered from the White House at 10:53 p.m.]

My fellow citizens:

I am very proud to be numbered among the great company of volunteers who from coast to coast all during the month of October will be working for and giving to their Community Chests.

These volunteers differ in race, in religion, in politics, in income. However, they hold one deep conviction in common. That is the conviction that the first responsibility of a good citizen is to pitch in and help make his community a good and wholesome place in which to live. No governmental agency, no legislation, no miracle of science can do this thing. It is strictly a job for home town citizens to tackle together.

The American people long ago created the Community Chest as a new expression of a fine old American tradition--the tradition of neighborliness. We are a neighborly people at heart. We have the impulse to help each other. The Community Chest gathers together all our generous impulses, unites them and directs them into fruitful channels.

There is another aspect of our Community Chest activities which makes a special appeal to me. Through this helping hand all Americans are given an opportunity to exemplify one of the most fundamental Christian principles--the principle of Christian charity. In this modern world of science and sociology human values are sometimes overlooked.

That we must avoid at all costs. Let us always remember that we are dealing with human beings. In our generous impulses we should follow the admonition set forth in St. Matthew's Gospel. Our Lord, bidding us to aid and comfort our stricken neighbor, whoever he may be, spoke words as true today as when he uttered them more than nineteen hundred years ago: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto


The "Red Feather Services" supported by our gifts to the Community Chest, benefit' not one group of people--they benefit all of us. For the plain truth is that what is good for some people in a community is good for all. What harms some, harms all.

The ills of society spread like a contagion and no one is safe. But we may take hope in the fact that the good in society is also contagious. That is why the Community Chest volunteers are willing to work so hard.

These volunteers are businessmen, housewives, company officials, shop foremen and workers in our vast network of industries, professions, and trades. They are responding to a call to be good neighbors. I suspect that most of the unselfish, the truly noble actions of men and women are a response to an inner compulsion to be good neighbors.

So I salute proudly the volunteers of the Community Chests of America. And I urge you, their fellow citizens, to meet them half way. When one of them calls on you, pledge generously.

Your pledge to the Community Chest helps to solve the myriad of human problems which are the common lot of everybody. And when you give that pledge warmly and generously, everybody benefits.

Harry S. Truman, Radio Address Opening the Community Chest Campaign. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232314

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