Harry S. Truman photo

Radio Remarks Opening the Community Chest Campaign.

September 30, 1949

[Broadcast from the White House at 10 p.m.]

My fellow Americans:

We are on the eve of a typically American campaign--a peace campaign that will enlist, during October, the energies of a million and a half volunteer workers. They are setting out to raise some $185,000,000 to meet community needs through the familiar Red Feather services of the Community Chests.

These services are many and varied. They include, among others, child care, recreation and character-developing activities for boys and girls, counseling and help to families in time of trouble, healing for those who are sick in body or in mind, care and companionship for the aged.

This year Red Feather campaigns in many cities will include the USO--the United Service Organizations. The USO has been reactivated at my request as an essential element in our national security. Let us remember that the USO is still a "home away from home" for more than a million and a half young men and women in our Armed Forces. The USO budget of $12,000,000, some of it to be raised through the Chest and the rest through independent campaigns, will continue to maintain the more than 150 clubs and lounges now in operation. It will continue to finance the Veterans Hospital Camp Shows which bring so much pleasure to the hundred thousand patients in our Army, Navy, and veterans' hospitals. Surely the USO deserves the generous support of all of us.

Red Feather services exist to help people with their problems. These problems, as we all know, seldom appear singly. A young mother may plead, "Help my sick baby to get well." But the baby's illness may stem from a long chain of other troubles-from inadequate diet for the family, from crowded living conditions, from worry and fright--any or all of these. And such troubles may require the combined services of clinics, visiting nurses, family counselors, and a recreational plan for the whole family.

Problems like these simply can't be approached separately, in a hit-or-miss fashion. It speaks well for the voluntary agencies which must provide many services to meet many needs, that they have united under the Red Feather symbol to raise their funds through one annual, federated appeal.

There is strength in a federation of any sort. We speak of a "helping hand." But a hand, just by itself, can't help anyone. It is dependent upon muscles, nerves, bloodstream, and brain, a federation of services, mutually helpful. In our form of government, we Americans have long since passed beyond the confining barriers of State lines into the federation that is the United States of America, serving all its people and being served by them.

It is this same cooperative spirit which has created and maintains your local Community Chest. Let us give generously through this federation of many organizations, meeting many community needs, so that everybody benefits.

Harry S. Truman, Radio Remarks Opening the Community Chest Campaign. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230125

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