Give To Community-Based Charities, Bush Urges

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:20 PM EDT

( - Since Sept. 11, many Americans have donated their dollars to charities that benefit the victims of the terrorist attacks, even so President Bush Thursday reminded Americans not to forget community-based charities this holiday season.

During a visit to Martha's Table, a soup kitchen in Washington, he urged people "to find ways to contribute, not only time but money."

Bush even repeated his support for faith-based initiatives.

"Part of my vision for a better America is that our country understand the power of faith-based and community-based organizations and government should do everything it can to facilitate their expansion all around the country, that a lot of times faith can do things that others can't," the president said.

"And while government should never promote a particular religion, government should not fear faith and should welcome those programs based upon faith, because government couldn't possibly duplicate what goes on inside this building. There is no way that our government could mandate love," Bush said.

"I used to tell people I wish I could make people love one another and I'd sign the bill, but that's not the way life works," he added. "What happens is dedicated citizens decide they're going to do something to better the community in which they live and without government say 'Let's go. Let's roll. Let's make it happen.'"

Instead of gift-giving this year, Bush suggested people contribute to charity.

"Instead of sending Laura and me something, if they choose to do so, I would hope they would figure out a way to help a community charitable-based organization," he said. It would "be the best gift you could possibly give us."