Ed. note: Earlier today, the Director of Presidential Correspondence, Fiona Reeves, sent an email to the White House list. Didn't get it? Make sure you sign up for updates.
Two weeks ago, President Obama asked you to write and tell him how you're doing. And I can tell you, as one of the people who helps sort through the mail here at the White House, that a lot of you answered.
You told us how you're feeling about your family, your community, and our country. You shared stories about what's been going well, and what you wish was better.
So if you were wondering if those letters actually get read, the answer is yes.
Your stories paint a broader picture of how things have changed these past few years, and I wanted to share a few of them. Here's what folks had to say:
Desirae, Anacortes, WA:
"I guess I can tell you about myself now. I am a 26 year old single mother. My son is the light of my life. We live in a small city called Anacortes, located in Skagit County, Washington. It's beautiful here. A lot of the people that live here were raised here, and they have family and friends all around town. For me, it's just my son and I. His father was born and raised here, and the majority of his family is located here, too. We separated shortly after my son's first birthday, though. … I've had to do a lot of fighting to get where I am now, and I feel like I have so much more to do. I think you know what that feels like."
Gale, Durham, NC:
"My family is doing OK - we all have jobs, we have health insurance, we have homes and cars. I am the Director of a nonprofit … and my concern is for the people we serve. There are so many older adults who are alone, who need a meal, who need much more than we can provide. We struggle to feed the people who need help, and the need for our assistance is growing. … As a nation, how do we help the people who were there for us? How do we absorb this enormous responsibility?"
Richard, Kernersville, NC:
"Thankfully, we are all doing well. In fact, because of the Affordable Care Act we are doing a bit better than we were; two of my three children are now covered through my insurance at work and that has saved me thousand of dollars a year. I am also fortunate to be working in an industry that has managed to weather the recent economic storms and I consider us to be well-off. However, I am acutely aware that a number of my fellow citizens here in North Carolina have not been so fortunate."
Stephen, Harper Woods, MI:
"Well, Mr. President, I can answer your question quite simply: 'We're better than we were but we're not as good as we hope to be.' … Mr. President, out here in the old rusting heartland of America, we're praying we can [keep] ourselves alive. We have little strength to even concern ours lives with old American dreams of success. I do not mind that my life is hard...but does life have to become impossible?"
Your letters mean so much to everyone here, President Obama included. That's one reason why he’s spending time with people like Rebekah, a letter writer he met in Minneapolis in June, and why, this week, he's spending time with folks like you who've written him in Denver and Austin.
As the President has said, even though unemployment is the lowest it's been since 2008 and the economy is adding jobs at a rate we haven't seen since the 90s, we still have a lot more work to do -- too many are still struggling to get ahead.
Every letter we get -- every story -- matters. And that’s why, all this summer, the President will be talking about ways this administration is working to make a difference in peoples' lives.