APRIL 22, 1937
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I must say a word today about my visit to the Goodwill Industries yesterday. I understand that while this same type of work is being done under the same name in various cities the organization does not do their work in the same way everywhere. The officers may meet now and then in the hope that their experiences in different places may be helpful, but there is no obligation to carry out the same plan. I would therefore like to draw the attention of the people to the features of the plan here which I thought most beneficial.
In the first place, great imagination is being used in finding ways to salvage every possible kind of material. Useful things are made out of anything which is good enough to be reconditioned or to be used to making something new, but even waste material is used profitably. The workers are either older people, the average age last year in the Washington shop was fifty-five which meant that many of them were as old as seventy, or else they are physically handicapped people. The things which are produced and sold in the shops will enable a great many people to buy things at a most reasonable price which they could not have at all unless they were produced in this way.
I took one of their bags and am sure that the White House will find things that can be used in no other way and which can be sent to the Goodwill Industries in this bag and may provide some one with work. The wages paid are naturally rather low but they are paid to people who otherwise would probably have to be on straight relief, and judging from the expressions on the faces of the people I saw there, they are finding it a great satisfaction to be at work.
I have just come back from lunching with the ladies of the Seventy-Fourth Congressional Club. It was a very pleasant party and I was struck by the fact that there are so many young women in this group. This means undoubtedly that there are a number of young men in Congress and that gives me a sense of satisfaction for I have been troubled by the fact that so much of our civic and charitable work is carried on by older people. I am glad to see a change coming and to find younger men and women carrying the burdens of this type of work. It will undoubtedly be better for the work and older heads should act in an advisory capacity. I think we sometimes forget how young the gentlemen were who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States! I have not looked it up for a good many years so I dare not be too accurate but I have an idea that the average age was somewhere in the early thirties!
I must quickly dress now for the Daughters of the American Revolution are to be received at three o'clock and after their party is over, there are other people coming in who will keep me busy until six o'clock.