November 30, 2002 - Reuters: Bush Urges Americans to Volunteer During Holidays

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Bush Urges Americans to Volunteer During Holidays

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Bush Urges Americans to Volunteer During Holidays*

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Bush Urges Americans to Volunteer During Holidays

Sat November 30, 2002 01:56 PM ET

By Jeremy Pelofsky

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush on Saturday called on Americans to take time during the holiday season to help those less fortunate through volunteer work at local soup kitchens or visiting the sick at hospitals.

Bush, spending the long Thanksgiving weekend at his Texas ranch, used his weekly radio address to plug his USA Freedom Corps and his call for Americans to donate two years of their lives to community service, the equivalent of 4,000 hours.

"I hope you'll consider joining the armies of compassion, and dedicating time and energy and service to others," he said. "Every time you reach out to a neighbor in need you touch a life; you improve your community and you strengthen our nation."

Bush was also receiving regular updates on the probe into the attacks in Kenya that killed at least 16 people including three suicide bombers who blew up the lobby of an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa. Bush is slated to meet outgoing Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi at the White House next week.

"It's an ongoing investigation," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. U.S. officials have said it is too early to determine who was responsible for the attacks but suspect it was the work of al Qaeda or Somali-based Islamic extremist group Al-Itihad al-Islamiya.

Before his daily intelligence briefing, the president went on a 3.5 mile-run Saturday morning, McClellan said.


The volunteer program Bush cited in his radio address acts as a clearinghouse for volunteer projects and includes a new Citizen Corps to fight terrorism at the local level, an expanded Peace Corps for overseas service, a Senior Corps for older Americans and continued support for AmeriCorps, a Clinton administration era program.

The Peace Corps has received more than 100,000 requests for applications since January, an almost 40 percent jump over last year, while 52,000 people have signed up online for the Citizen Corps since February, according to Nov. 1 statistics on the USA Freedom Corps Web site,

"I ask all Americans to consider how you can give someone in need a reason to be thankful in this holiday season and throughout the year," Bush said.

Bush was spending time with his family on Saturday and took a walk with the first lady, his brother Marvin and Marvin's wife. On Saturday night the Bush clan will belatedly celebrate the first daughters' 21st birthday with a party at the ranch. The twins, Barbara and Jenna, turned 21 on Monday.

Bush travels to Louisiana on Tuesday to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Suzanne Haik Terrell who faces incumbent Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu in a Dec. 7 run-off election.

Neither was able to garner 50 percent of the votes cast on Nov. 5 but the Democrat holds a double-digit lead in a recent poll. The outcome will not change control of the Senate; Republicans won control earlier this month.

Bush recorded a get-out-the-vote telephone message on behalf of Terrell, McClellan said.

The president returns to Washington on Sunday, and later in the week kicks off the holiday season by lighting the Hanukkah menorah and the national Christmas tree in Washington.

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