January 11, 1983

The President. Mr. Mayor -- I guess he didn't come over here with us.

Mayor Evans.Here I am, right here.

The President. Ah, there you are. Mr. Mayor and Doug Nelson, who, as the mayor says, is quarterback here, and all of you who are doing this work, I just wanted to stop by here today and shake a few hands and deliver some pats on the back, because this North Texas Food Bank is such a wonderful story.

I think that just a few years ago this whole thing was just something in the mind of a number of you who are concerned and community-minded citizens, beginning with Kathy Cain. And today millions of pounds of food are being distributed to over a hundred agencies. With a little seed money from the Department of Health and Human Services and some good volunteers from ACTION, I can't think of a more effective private and public partnership than this food bank.

In addition to the hard work that's gone into building this enterprise, I think also that there's been some hard work at the State level -- the State legislature, Governor Clements, and all those who worked to pass the good-faith donor bill. And they deserve congratulations, also. I'm told that before that bill became law, there were no food banks of this magnitude in Texas at all. Now, there are 10 and with more springing up all the time.

Food banks alone aren't going to solve the hunger problem, I know; but they do make a more efficient use of existing resources as the second harvest network has shown. I hope that others will follow this example, and I'm happy to note that the National Grocers' Association and the Grocery Manufacturers' Association are telling their members to participate in this kind of enterprise and in local food banks.

Well, I'm proud about what you've accomplished here in north Texas. And I know you must be very proud also. I've been talking for a long time about private sector initiative. You might be interested to know that you're in a computer bank in Washington, in the White House, because our private sector initiative committee has gathered from all over the country all kinds of wonderful programs that people like yourselves have thought of and are making work. And, thus, anyone can call in, and from the computer we can give them names of people to call to find out how it was done, what the program was, and whether it would suit them.

Barbara Bush came down on the plane with me today, and she's going to be here in the area. And then she's going to Midland to talk. And I was talking to her about something which she, coming from that area, knew about already that's in that computer bank. Midland, Texas -- you've probably heard of Christmas in April that they have, the repair and refurbishing of homes for the elderly and the disabled and so forth. Well, this is just a sample of what I meant by private initiative all the time. We just used to call it neighborliness in our country, until the Government started sticking its nose in. Well, if you want to put the Government's nose out of shape, I won't be mad. [Laughter]

Thanks again. Now I'm going to see some of your operations here.

Note: The President spoke at 12:23 p.m. in the food bank's warehouse facility.

Following the President's appearance at the food bank, he returned to Washington, D.C.