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Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service

Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service

Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service
Headquarters, Memorial Community Building, Telephone 580
Goldsboro, N.C.

Miss Gertrude Weil, President
Miss Mary Emma Giddens, 1st Vice-President
Miss Hattie Dewey, 2nd Vice-President
Mrs. W.D. Creech, Treasurer
Mrs. Lewis D. Giddens, Executive Secretary


During the past year many of you may have heard little of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service. Up to two years ago you were made aware at least once a year of its existence - when we came around for your annual membership dues and contribution to our treasury. We are beginning now our second year of incorporation in the Community Chest, through whose operation our members may lose something of their personal feeling toward the Bureau, but which has the compensating advantage of putting us in closer fellowship with the other civic and philanthropic agencies of the community and which also has the obvious advantage of making one appeal a year suffice for all the local agencies.

The very nature of our work precludes publicity and advertising. If there are unfortunates who need material help to put them on their feet, if there are families who need outside aid in adjusting themselves to difficult conditions, if a person finds himself out of a job, it is our part to render the needed aid. The more efficient we are the less we are heard of. However, our work has gone on progressively during the past year. The secretaries' reports will give detailed records of our activities.

The organization has during the past year dropped the

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Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service

Tuberculosis Committee. Tuberculosis cases have been considered by the executive secretary and the Decision Committee, as other cases. The funds used in tuberculosis cases have, however, been kept separate, as heretofore.

As a charity organization extending its records of activities over a period of more than forty years it seems to me not enough that we help the helpless or temporarily incapacitated to help themselves. While their physical, moral, and finacial needs must be met, it is most important that we also inquire into the causes of poverty and dependence. When our records show three generations of the same family among our clients we are forced to question whether our methods have been effectual in solving our problem. How can we solve the problem of poverty, how can we prevent it, until we have found its causes and eliminated them? When Jesus said many years ago, “The poor ye have always with you”, it was said as a simple statement of actual fact, not as a mandate of what must ever be. One of our ideals is to make it less and less a fact as the world goes on and as social consciousness developes among us. It is not enough to eliminate one case of poverty after another but to eliminate poverty itself. My point is that this Bureau of Social Service must look beyond the immediate problem of the special case to the underlying physical and social conditions that lead to dependence and maladjustment. The objection has been made to organized charity that it covers up the sore spots in society, and in so far as it does merely this the objection is valid. But we want our work not only to relieve cases of need but to uncover the causes of need, so that we may intelligently go about removing the causes. What part does feeble-mindedness play as a cause?

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Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service

physical disease? unemployment? lack of training and skill? low wages? lack of thrift and economy? Why put our thought and effort on adjusting one social problem while we leave untouched the conditions that lead to a continuing supply of social problems? For example, social agencies such as this have dealt again and again with cases resulting from feeble-mindedness. The mentally sub-normal are unable to cope with, and adjust themselves to, the complex demands of society and are continually needing help from such agencies. What have we done about it? So far we have for the most part let the feeble-minded go on procreating, increasing the number of their own kind, and consequently increasing social problems for this and the next generation. This can hardly be called an intelligent, constructive treatment. It is an example of what I am not advocating.

It would be well if we could have from time to time thinkers and leaders in social thought who would direct our study along such constructive lines.

Although we no longer have a formally organized council of social agencies, we are aware that our Bureau of Social Service is one of several social agencies functioning in the town and county. We have this past year followed our long established policy of maintaining friendly relations and co-operating with these in every possible way, thus avoiding friction and the confusion and waste of overlapping. Among these agencies I mention: County Department of Public Health, County Department of Public Welfare, Goldsboro Public Schools (in dispensing the Thanksgiving offering), Empty Stocking Fund (in two Christmas trees), church organizations for social service, Community

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Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service

Chest (especially in contribution of the secretary’s and stenographer’s services), Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, and Fair Association (in conducting rest room).

In reviewing the work of the year it seems to me that perhaps the most notable feature has been the extension and strengthening of the work among the colored people. This work, begun last year, has been ably continued under the direction of Col. John D. Langston, chairman of the committee on Colored Work, and by the case worker, Marian Nicholas. It has reached more of the people than before, both as clients and supporters. Last year … of the negro people raised $631.34 for the support of the work; this year … have contributed $ . This shows an increasing interest and sense of responsibility in carrying their own burdens. The time is past when any one believes that when two races live side by side the welfare of one is not affected by the welfare of the other. Any help given the colored people to help themselves is not only an act of justice to the negroes but of benefit to the whites as well. It is this attitude of mind and its resulting policies that must create an interracial relation of friendliness and co-operation.

For our Bureau staff I have only the highest praise. Our executive secretary, Mrs. Giddens, has been faithful “unto the last”, neglecting no detail in the mass of work that the year’s routine demands. Our stenographer, Mrs. Prince, has at every point shown deep interest in the work of the Bureau. The other officers and members of committees have carried on the work of the year in the spirit of devoted co-operation. I hereby extend to them my thanks and appreciation. I would also, express appreciation to our local papers, which have been unfailingly

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Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service

generous in giving publicity to our announcements I wish the members to know that we are under obligation to Mr. Betts, who has painstakingly audited the treasurer’s books.

Our experience during the past year leads me to three recommendations for the coming year (besides the suggestion of a more general and broader study of big social problems):

(1) The organization of a new committee which might be called “Friendly Visitors”. It was my hope that this committee would have already been established and functioning before this meeting. The mere name leaves a need for some explanation of its proposed purposes and functions. There are many cases of people in town who are not in need of shelter or food or fuel but who would be much happier for a cheerful visit, a bright flower, a tempting bit of cake, a magazine, or any friendly attention. There are so many other cases, of acute need, to occupy the executive secretary’s time that she can not possibly attend to this sort of need, too. But any one who has had experience of illness or chronic feebleness will recognize the tremendous opportunities of helpfulness that lie all about us. Our work has sometimes been criticized because our case worker is professional and paid, and the result is occasionally called mechanical. If we allow it it may become so. But there is always much more to do in any community than the professional workers can do – there are limitless opportunities of service for as many volunteer workers as will volunteer. They would not need to “investigate” or prescribe treatment for a case, but, certainly at first, simply bring cheer. This may sound sentimental, but I am convinced that there is a very practical need of this

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Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service

sort of thing in our social program. An incidental advantage would be the extension of interest in social conditions and problems among more of our members, which would be a reply to those who complain that the work is done by too few.

(2) My second recommendation is that the Bureau of Social Service establish an employment bureau. This would not be out of line with past undertakings of our organization. We have often been the means of making the connection between a man and a job. There seem to be possibilities of going into this a little more extensively and formally. The Chamber of Commerce has, I believe, conducted an employment bureau of a sort for some time. We might find it possible to work in co-operation with this.

(3) And thirdly, I would recommend a registration of practical nurses. There is, I understand, a registry of trained nurses at Andrews’s Drug Store. This proposed registry would, naturally, not be in conflict or competition with this, but would supplement it, and would be of frequent usefulness and convenience in many cases where practical nursing service is desired.

In turning over the presidency of this Bureau of Social Service to my successor it is with gratitude for what the Bureau and its responsibilities have meant to me. It is also with the heartfelt wish for much greater development in the future and the promise of my continued loyalty to the Bureau, its ideals, and its officials.

Respectfully submitted,
Gertrude Weil.
January 13, 1927.

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Date / time
January 13, 1927

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Gertrude Weil's Annual Report as President of the Goldsboro Bureau of Social Service." (Viewed on December 17, 2014) <>.


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