MAY 22, 1943
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday I spoke at City College and then lunched with some of the faculty. Afterwards I visited the ordnance exhibition at the Chrysler Building. This exhibition has attracted crowds of people, every day. I was especially interested in comparing captured material of Japanese, German and Italian make, with what we have produced and which seemed so much better. In the evening I gave a broadcast for a small group of colleges under the auspices of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, and then took the night train back to Washington.
I find considerable agitation in New York City over the possible withdrawal of federal aid for penny milk and school lunches. From July 1941 to June 30, 1942, twenty million quarts of milk were sold to school children under this program, and 65,000 school lunches were served per day.
I have only seen people from New York, but I am sure there must be people all over the country who are equally agitated and feel that the withdrawal of this support by the Federal Government will mean the abandonment of projects which have greatly increased the health of the children. It is true that there is less unemployment and that, perhaps, the children of some people who could afford to pay a little more will get this milk, but from the educational standpoint alone, it seems to me vital to continue teaching children and parents that milk is something no child should go without.
More attention should also be focused on developing school activities for older children outside of school hours. Our duty as regards the children of women war workers is not accomplished when we establish a nursery to look after little children while their mothers go to work. Our high rate of juvenile delinquency, which is increasing in many places, shows quite well that not enough attention is being paid to the older children.
Communities are evidently slower in sensing this situation and in preparing to do something about it, because the applications coming into the Federal Works Agency for Lanham Act Funds are far larger in number for day nursery care than they are for extra school activities.
I have just received a plan which has been put in operation in the White Plains, New York, Hospital. It is called the "Volunteer Orderly Corps," and, for short, they call themselves, "VOCs." This group is composed of older men who volunteer for duty in the hospital for three hours each week. They may volunteer for longer if they wish, since it does not interfere with any other work they are doing. With a little training they apparently become very acceptable aids to the professional orderlies and have considerably relieved the shortage of men.