As part of its Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up a few of the best local stories of the day.
A 12-year-old girl in Eugene, Ore., wrote a letter pleading for an employer to hire her father who had been out of work for half a year, writes Bob Welch for the local Register-Guard. Andy Hess has been doing odd jobs off and on at Oregon Motorcoach, and his daughter, Cheyenne, was desperate for him to get hired full time. She wrote the boss, Ed Read, a letter.
Dear Ed Reed [sic],
Please give my Dad a job at Oregon Motorcoach. He has been out of a job since December 2008 and he deserves this job and you deserve such a great painter, he has a great painting skill. He has painted cars, coaches and he always has a good attitude about what he has to do. He has always been a good Dad, painter and lovely husband and friend. If you hire him you would be getting a good deal and a lot of new customers for life. My Dad has never been rude to anyone so you won't have to worry about having meetings with him. So please, please, please hire him. He always has great ideas at meetings and never needs an assistant.
Sincerely, Cheyenne Hess.
The United Way discontinued Arkansas's 211 service last week because of insufficient funding, reports Marla Cantrell of Fort Smith's City Wire. The system connected needy callers to social services, from employment help to finding the nearest food bank or after-school programs. Every other state in the nation has a 211 service.
Private donations have slowed in recent months, despite the service's popularity in the state. "I've put these systems up in other states and I've never seen people gravitate toward it like they have in Arkansas," said State Director Nathan Cook. The United Way attempted to push legislation to pay for 211 with government money, but the state maintained it did not have the funding.
A free clinic in Greensboro, N.C., that caters to the local Muslim population has been overwhelmingly popular, reports Nancy H. McLaughlin of the News & Record. The Al-Aqsa clinic operates twice a month in a donated office space and provides primary and prenatal care for low-income and uninsured patients. The clinic is bilingual in English and Arabic, and provides services to a niche community that might otherwise be overlooked.
All of the health professionals are volunteers, and organizers are concerned about how long they can continue to operate with a demand so large and a supply so small. "One of the things we are running up against is that the demand for services... outstrips the ability for the network to meet that need," said Brian Ellerby, chairman of a local network of care services.
Over the last year, food assistance programs in Rhode Island have served 30 percent more meals than the year before, reports the Providence Journal's Paul Davis. Because of the recent economic collapse, about 123,000 people across the state live in poverty and a third of them are children.
HuffPost readers: Seen a compelling local story? Have a neighbor going to bizarre lengths to get through the recession? Tell us about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.