Letter, 27 November 1917, from Harvey L. Parker
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A TYPICAL ARMY Y.M.C.A. BUILDING ON VISTORS' DAY. HEADQUARTERS FOR GUESTS ARE ESTABLISHED IN THE ADJOINING PAVILION. THERE ARE 600 OF THESE STRUCTURES BUILT OR BUILDING FOR AMERICA'S FIGHTING MEN. P.S.- I am writing this in one of the buildings erected in our camp by the Y. M. C. A., and on stationery which it furnishes us. What does the Army and Navy Y. M. C. A. do for us fellows, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. It provides outdoor and indoor games, baseball, basketball, volley ball, football, checkers and chess. It supplies entertainment, music and moving pictures. It conducts classes in French, English and other Educational branches. It organizes Bible classes and promotes a strong religious work program. It keeps the fellows out of trouble by filling their spare hours with useful and enjoyable occupations. It takes the place here of school, church and home, and more, - it's the soldiers' and sailors' club. Its secretaries are friendly men, living under the same camp conditions as ourselves. When we go overseas these comforts and men will go with us to do for the American boys what they are doing for our allies in England, France, Russia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Italy. The "Y" is already over there. The aim of this work is at all times to keep us fit, happy and contented, and our officers and the pastors of near-by churches are helping greatly to bring these results. [PRESIDENT WILSON SAYS: This organization is prepared to serve especially the troops in camp and field. The results obtained are so beneficial and bear such a direct relationship to efficiency that official recognition is hereby given the Y. M. C. A. as a valuable adjunct and asset to the service.] [GENERAL PERSHING SAYS: The work now being done by the Y. M. C. A. for the comfort and entertainment of our soldiers in France is very important. As an organization its moral influence is highly beneficial. It performs a real service that makes for contentment. The Y. M. C. A. has won its place by unselfish devotion to the soldier's welfare and deserves staunch support by our peoples at home.] [continued from column I] To render this service here and in the other camps 600 buildings and tents are required in America and hundreds more abroad. Thousands of men, together with equipment and maintenance, are also necessary. And it doesn't cost us fellows a cent. Who pays it all? Well, I've wondered myself, but I've just heard how they do it. As usual, they call on the folks back home. I've been told, too, that the fund which was raised for this work last spring has been exhausted, and they're going out again from November 11 to 19 in a nation-wide campaign to secure enough more to last until July. There'll be campaign committees in every state and you'll probably hear more about it. It's going to take $35,000,000. That's a lot of money, but when you think that several million men at home and abroad are to be served it's certainly worth many times that amount. Take it from me, if you know anybody who really wants to make his money count in winning the war by giving the fellows the things they need, tell him to write his check in just as many figures as he can and we'll lick the Kaiser in half the time it will take if this money is not subscribed. [EX-PRES. ROOSEVELT SAYS: What the Y. M. C. A. has been doing in Europe has been really remarkable; and our citizens should aid them to do work of the same type for our own troops.] [EX-PRESIDENT TAFT SAYS: We should feel proud of the Y. M. C. A. work so ably directed. Are we going to be backward in giving our men the nearest thing they can get to a Christian home on the firing line?