For the second time in three years, John Mellencamp stopped in Toledo, Ohio, to show his support for Toledo’s Tent City, an annual event that helps the city’s homeless population find housing and stability. On Thursday, Mellencamp recorded two Public Service Announcements, one for Tent City and one in recognition of World Homeless Day, which will be held on October 10th this year. He also participated in an interview for Toledo Streets, a local newspaper run by members of Toledo’s homeless community.
According to the Toledo Blade, Mellencamp kept the mood light at the PSA taping, joking that the wordy teleprompter was scrolling too quickly (“This is like the Gettysburg Address!”) and bringing some of his own impromptu thoughts to his speech. “People give up too easily,” he told the Blade when asked to give advice to readers facing down the prospect of losing their homes. “I’ve been writing about that since I was kid. ‘Jack and Diane’ were about kids who just quit.”
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In 2007, the singer joined then-Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to address Tent City attendees, telling the crowd, “I think it’s fantastic that people have come together and shown compassion for the people who need compassion.”
In addition to his concerns about the homeless, Mellencamp is an advocate for American farmworkers — he’s one of the cofounders of the annual Farm Aid benefit concerts. He also served as a vocal supporter of Barack Obama in the lead-up to the 2008 election, recording a radio advertisement as well as a cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’ “ for Obama’s campaign.