THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Monday, December 21, 1998
PROMOTING SERVICE FOR STRONGER COMMUNITIES
At Christmas-time, we celebrate the gift of a miracle. At the D.C. Central Kitchen, you perform a miracle with your gifts.
President Bill Clinton
December 21, 1998
Today, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will highlight the importance of community service by volunteering their time at the D.C. Central Kitchen, a program that both distributes food and provides job training to the homeless.
Service As Civic Responsibility. To make the forces of the 21st Century work for us, not against us, we must restore an ethic of citizenship and civic responsibility through service -- not as a form of charity or an alternative to government, but as an essential part of what it means to be an American. Service unites people of all ages and all racial and ethnic backgrounds in a common mission to solve community problems and improve the lives of other Americans.
Strengthening Communities And Building Strong Futures. Today, the President and First Lady will volunteer their time at the D.C. Central Kitchen. The D.C. Central Kitchen collects surplus food from local hotels, restaurants, and government agencies and distributes meals to homeless shelters and soup kitchens across the area. In addition to preparing 3,000 meals a day, the D.C. Central Kitchen operates a job training program for homeless people that is supported by the Departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development. Every day, roughly 25 to 30 homeless men and women receive job training in food service. The D.C. Central Kitchen also operates with the assistance of AmeriCorps and between 10 and 20 community and mission volunteers.
A Presidential Commitment to National Service. President Clinton has made service and volunteerism a foundation of his Administration:
- AmeriCorps: When he came into office in 1993, President Clinton outlined a vision for a national service program which would allow young people to serve our nation. The result of that vision is AmeriCorps, which is bringing people of different racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds together in the name of service and common goals. AmeriCorps has helped over 100,000 young people serve their communities, and engage in a variety of intensive service areas, including: youth mentoring, disaster relief, public safety, and home building;
- The President's Volunteer Summit: In 1997, the President convened the President's Volunteer Summit, bringing together leaders from a broad spectrum of both the private and public sector to mobilize Americans and help them understand the important role volunteerism can play in strengthening their communities. In conjunction with this summit, the President announced a national week of service, called on all states to make service a part of high school and middle school education, and launched the National Service Scholarships, to help students who perform outstanding service pay for college.