ServeNext.org Blog

On Thanksgiving Eve, Obama serves to “reinspire a generation to get involved”

Posted by aaronjmarquez on November 21, 2007

 http://news.yahoo.com/photo/071121/480/c573db2b7e01434fb46a8616966f5dc3

This morning, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) volunteered his time at New Horizons in Manchester, joining in his entire New Hampshire campaign staff’s week-long commitment to community service.  Obama’s New Hampshire staff began their service projects on Saturday, and by Thanksgiving Day, the campaign will have completed more than 250 hours at local food pantries, churches, senior homes, and other locations around the state.  New Horizons serves Greater Manchester as a soup kitchen, food pantry, and shelter.

“We see all across the country that people are going through tough times and not only do we see the homeless population rising, but we also see families who maybe working and are still having trouble in terms of getting all the food that they need.  So facilities like this one, that provide families support, are extraordinarily important and they’re operating like this year-round often with shoestring budgets and the help of volunteers.”

While preparing boxes of food for area residents and unloading turkeys with members of the Manchester West High School Student Council, the Senator was asked if he thought volunteerism has increased or decreased in America. 

“What I see is young people are passionate and eager to get involved, but often times they don’t have outlets and I think they’re cynical about politics and government as a means of expressing that idealism, so they’re much more likely to be active in things like soup kitchens or working on behalf of the homeless or organizing on behalf of people in Darfur or HIV/AIDS.”   

And then he struck a chord that should resonate with the National Service community: 

“Part of what I hope to do is to make sure that we countinue to encourage that volunteerism and that we also say that public service through government is also an option; to reinspire a generation to get involved.”

Senator Obama and his wife Michelle, the founding Executive Director of Public Allies Chicago, an AmeriCorps program, signed the ServeNext Presidential Pledge to Expand National Service just blocks away at Veterans Park over the Obama family’s Labor Day Weekend visit to the state.  The Obamas will celebrate Thanksgiving together in Chicago.

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