The Obama Campaign has made a habit of not distributing "street money" to ward leaders in previous elections, and they've said they don't plan to do so in Pennsylvania, either.
Yes, we all know that by now.
To some, it sounds like a moral victory simply on the grounds of not filtering hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed by individual donors down to GOTV workers who end up with only $10 or $20. To others, it sounds like callous disregard for how hard life is in Philadelphia's poor neighborhoods and how valuable the ward volunteers' work is.
You might be surprised, though, to know what the Obama campaign has done in Pennsylvania in the four weeks since the last primary. Join me below the fold to find out.
Here's a sampling of events and activities to date:
- Nearly $150,000 donated to Pennsylvania public school projects by more than 2,000 Obama supporters impacting nearly 30,000 students
- Obama Works' Obama Philly Sweep
- Obama Works' Chew Playground Cleanup in Philadelphia
- Harrisburg food & clothing drive
- Obama Works' York City street sweep
Here's a sampling of ongoing and upcoming PA community service events:
- Online and in-person Food Drives for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Exton Train Station cleanup project (4/12, sign up at the link)
- Obama Works: Roberto Clemente Bridge sweep & cleanup in Pittsburgh (4/12, sign up at the link)
- Collecting art & educational supplies for children's hospitals (4/15-4/18 at Harrisburg campaign office, see link for info)
- Toy drive for Carlisle, PA & surrounding area family shelters (Starts 4/12, see link for info)
The Obama Works web site is down at the moment for maintenance, but I'm linking here and I'll update as I hear more back from the PA folks who are organizing.
At the heart of all of this is an awakening of community spirit that can't just be attributed to the candidate. It's a testament to the ways people can bring about change and make a difference when they're connected to each other and invested in each other.
I know that street money is the way it's always been done. I wonder if people are willing to open their eyes and see that this campaign doesn't do things the way they've always been done. That's really the heart of the message.
Real change. Not pocket change.