What’s the saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’?
As I drove along Swedesford Road to Wegmans a few days ago, I actually did a u-turn in the middle of the road … not quite believing what I saw. In the median strip on Swedesford Road in the shadow of the Great Valley Corporate Center and its mega-commercial buildings, were these two gentlemen holding ‘need help’ signs. I stopped the car to chat with them – both were out-of-work, one for 2-1/2 years, the other for 18 months. One was a union carpenter but explained that his local union had no work for him and he was managing by living off odd jobs. The other man, a veteran, explained that he had lost his family and his house since losing his job.
They said they generally came to this location in the morning during the work week, hoping that someone would offer them a job (even a few hours of work) or donate food or money. As if on cue, a well-dressed young may stopped his car and came over to us – giving each man a bag of food from a local carry-out. Aside from a polite thank you, no other words were exchanged, leaving me with the impression that this was not the first time this young man stopped to offer the men lunch.
I asked why did they choose this particular location and they said they thought it was important to serve as a reminder to the local corporate center workers, that they themselves were but ‘one paycheck away from a similar situation’. I asked them who they blamed — their response, “the government” … adding that “nobody cares”.
This photo serves as a reminder that unemployment and the job crisis is no longer ‘somewhere else’ — it’s right here in our backyard — Pennsylvania … Chester County … Tredyffrin Township! In the coming months between now and November, I want to hear some real ideas about how to get people back to work in this country. And that includes jobs for people in Chester County.