With major budget cuts threatening many very important domestic programs in the United States that will severely cause vital services to end for the intellectually and mentally challenged individuals, we must step forward and volunteer.

Our children will lose free meals in schools that will effect millions of low income families. Children need a nutritional meal plan in order to give them the ability to achieve in their studies. Our food industry needs to step forward and help these children.

Meals on Wheels program is on the list of possible defunding. Who will help our sick and elderly community? We need organizations to step forward and volunteer their expertise and help.

Our younger generation at high school age should volunteer their time. It just takes a few hours a week. I believe it should be mandatory in all high schools as part of their curriculum to donate a few hours to volunteer and fill in the gap left by the impending budget cuts.

I grew up in the 60s. During the summer breaks I volunteered four days a week. I worked two days as a “candy stripper” at a local hospital delivering flowers and helping out on the maternity floor. The other two days I travelled to center city Philadelphia and volunteered for the Jewish Foundation doing simple clerical duties. It never occurred to me not to do this; I wanted to.

After I graduated from high school in 1968, the Vietnam War was in full action. I joined the USO and every Friday my friends and I took the bus and train to center city Philadelphia to meet the bus to take us to Fort Dix Army Base. I loved this. The young men were so grateful to take their minds off their pending travels to Vietnam Nam and spend an evening dancing or talking to us. This experience was essential for me; helping me to be more outgoing and trusting. I will never forget those dances and the many men I met. I always wonder what came of their fate. It sometimes haunts me. I visited the Vietnam Nam wall in Washington DC several years later and placed my hands along the many names of our fallen soldiers and cried silent tears.

Dear parents – please encourage your high school children to donate time to volunteer.

Newly retired men and women- if you are lonely and need a change in your life- volunteer a few hours at a hospital or your local senior citizen center helping those who may be less fortunate than you. I know you will feel rewarded in your heart.


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