On this day in 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, part of the “New Deal” that sought to alleviate the pain and struggles of American still suffering from the Great Depression. The National Conference of Catholic Charities, which would later be named Catholic Charities USA, was one of the organizations intimately involved with crafting and securing support for this landmark legislation.
Generations later, Hubert Humphrey, our nation’s 38th vice president and a long-time senator from my home state of Minnesota, laid out his vision for a working definition of social justice: Our nation must ensure the dignity of those at every stage in the spectrum of life, he said, for “those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life — the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
This is as powerful a summation as any you’ll hear on who our member agencies serve. This quarter’s Charities USA magazine focuses on those in the twilight of life, the elderly in our midst who need special care and services as they age. You’ll read about a number of supportive programs that have a special focus on this population, supporting their mental and physical health. The work these agencies do is inspiring.
I encourage you to check out the latest issue of Charities USA, which will give you a sense of the many ways our member agencies respond to the needs of local communities. 79 years after the signing of the Social Security Act, our work of service and advocacy continues to call on our nation to care for those from the dawn to twilight of life, and everywhere in between.