Day Of Service

Barack Obama has asked people to spend tomorrow doing something to serve their communities, and he has set up a website designed to make it easy to find ways to do this. It’s actually quite wonderful. Anyone can create an event, so in addition to some things one might expect — opportunities to volunteer at soup kitchens, visit hospital patients, read to school kids, and so forth — there are some wondrous things. When I checked my area, I found people who do not seem to be affiliated with any organization, but who seem to have just decided that now would be a good time to pick up some trash; an “Adopt A Storm Drain” event, which I would never have thought of, but which sounds quite useful; a few events that are a bit underdescribed; as well as “Prayer for God devine intervention“.

Similarly, the email I got about his visit to Baltimore said:

“To attend, we ask only one thing: please deliver a can of food to a drop off location at Camden Yards. We will deliver the cans to a Baltimore food bank. It’s a simple act that will do a lot of good for someone in the community.”

I’m really happy to see Obama use his list to make it easier for people to get involved in community service, and even happier that its events are not just submitted by a list of pre-approved charitable organizations (though such organizations are there), but can be, and have been, created by ordinary people. This is one of the things I found most innovative about his campaign: the way in which it seemed to be quite specifically crafted to make it easier for people to form relationships that transcended the Obama campaign, and to genuinely empower his volunteers.

I’m also happy that there does not seem to be anything partisan about it, except for the fact that it’s Barack Obama who’s asking. Some things ought to be affiliated with a political party, but serving others should not be among them.

If any of you are planning on joining in, feel free to say how in the comments.