NOVEMBER 8, 1939
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—We left our kind friends on the railroad on Sunday night in St. Louis, Mo., after the lecture. Something unusual and quite delightful happened to us on our way to the lecture in St. Louis. It was only three blocks and we were actually allowed to walk it! All the exercise one obtains on these trips is getting on and off the trains and in and out of automobiles. The rest of the time is spent either in a hotel, or viewing a project, or on the train.
I have always hoped that the motion of the train might give a little exercise, but I confess that when nearing the last two days of a two week trip, the chance to walk three blocks and breathe the fresh air and stretch one's legs, even though I had on evening clothes and evening slippers, was a very welcome change!
In almost every place I have visited on this trip, I have been asked to say something about the community chest drive. It seems to me that the value of the organizations supported by the community chast, should by this time, with the help of active groups of women, have become well known in every community. There is a great advantage in having a coordinated drive for funds, because one can be sure that each organization has been carefully investigated and allotted the amount of money which is needed to run it to the best advantage. When one is constantly receiving appeals for this or that charity, the difficulty of making personal investigations leads one frequently to ignore the appeal.
I am beginning to feel the same way about appeals for war refugees in different parts of the world. I wish very much that we could have some central organization, now coordinating civilian relief, make the contacts necessary for the best results with foreign countries. They could allocate funds needed for adequate care of refugees in our own country and help other nations whose refugee loads are far greater than ours. We are a neutral country at peace and, in spite of the fact that our first duty is, of course, to meet the needs of our own citizens and give our best thought to the solving of domestic problems, still those of us who have anything to spare, should feel the call of suffering humanity all over the world.
Think of sixty million Chinese war refugees! "Bowl of Rice" parties held all over the United States under the auspices of the United Council for Civilian Relief in China, have probably helped to alleviate their suffering. The overhead expense could be cut down and a better job could be done for the Chinese, Spanish, Polish, Czechoslovakian and German refugees, if it could be coordinated under some experienced and able organizer.
On our arrival in Pittsburgh, Pa., yesterday afternoon, we had time only for a press conference and a short interview with some Democratic ladies Mrs. Emma Guffey Miller had asked to see me. Then came the lecture and another night on the train. I reached Hyde Park by noon in time to go up to the polling place, but I had voted by absentee ballot, fearing that something might delay my arrival at the last minute.