Washington Secrets

Obama 'volunteerism' site ignores snow storm--and Sandy victims

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

President Obama has made volunteerism and public service a big part of his second term, but his United We Serve site, www.serve.org, has no mention of how people can help those being crushed by Friday's super snow storm in New England--or Hurricane Sandy victims who've been struggling for months.

"If we want to realize change in our communities, we've got to be in it for the long haul, and it has to start with each of us," the president wrote in an email to supporters Friday that links to the "serve" website.

But a quick check of zip codes being hit by the storm, including New York, Boston, and Bangor, Maine, revealed no volunteer jobs dealing with the disaster expected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Instead, the site includes a handful of requests from charity groups for unrelated help, many listings just repeated over and over. The entry for one Boston zip code, for example, includes 10 identical requests for a volunteer receptionist to help with new immigrants. Another Boston zip code entry includes repeated requests for people to help serve at regularly scheduled dinners for homeless vets.

The Bangor, Maine entry includes requests to handle juvenile delinquents.

Plug in the zip code for Staten Island, slammed hardest by Hurricane Sandy, and no mention of the huge need for help is mentioned. Instead, the only mention is for drivers to help the Catholic Church's statewide "Feeding Our Neighbors" program.

More typical of the volunteer jobs offered pops up when the St. Louis zip code is put in. There, they want help showing disabled adults how to bowl.

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