1000 points of lightI always get nervous when politicians start working the volunteer angle.  Pretty soon volunteers get paid and then in my mind they are not volunteers anymore.  Volunteers get enlisted to do stuff the Government said it would do and then realizes it can’t or won’t because if found some other area to meddle in.  1000 Points of Light I always thought was different and helpful because it recognized the compulsion of compassion and at least recognized it.  The official record of the award this year is bear bones, and this is from the White House blog…………………………..

 President Obama welcomed the man who launched the modern service movement, President George H. W. Bush, back to the White House to honor the recipients of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light award. Together, they lauded Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer of Union, Iowa for stepping up to fight hunger and improve the lives of children worldwide.

Nearly 10 years ago, Hamilton and Hammer participated in a volunteer mission to Tanzania to help renovate an HIV/AIDS hospital there. Startled by the starvation they saw, the couple started Outreach, Inc., which has engaged thousands of volunteers in packaging and distributing 230 million free meals to children in more than 15 countries, including the United States.

Their story is a simple one: Two people decided that they simply had to do something. Telling that story, day in and day out, is what the Daily Point of Light Award is all about.

President Bush was the first president in U.S. history to institute a daily presidential recognition program from the White House, conferring 1,020 Daily Point of Light Awards between 1990 and 1993. And President Bush helped launch a nonprofit – Points of Light – that has become the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service.

While he didn’t originate the notion of helping our fellow man, he reasserted it as a national priority and insisted that “there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.”

Interesting to me is no stories about “creating dependency”, or not doing for others what they can do for themselves, the now in vogue nomenclature of the “helping class”.  I know for a fact that Hamilton and Hammer started out by bartering maize they bought in country and trading it for beautiful handmade woven baskets.  I don’t know if they still do that but my guess is that someone told them to stop.  Folks might stop raising food and focus on making baskets.  Kind of defeats the point doesn’t it? Weaving baskets to get food that you could be raising for yourself if you weren’t weaving baskets so you can get food is a conundrum.

We don’t need to get into those conundrums if we go back to that simple statement – “people decided that they simply had to do something”.  That good Samaritan story keeps coming to me – “you go and do likewise”.  Jesus could have just as easily said “go and do something”.  What we need to worry about is those that want to extinguish the points of light by hiding them under a basket.