The Christmas When New England Fed the World

In 1947 Americans fed a "silent guest" during the holidays and this led to a CARE package going overseas to feed the hungry.Credits: CARE

In 1947 Americans fed a “silent guest” during the holidays and this led to a CARE package going overseas to feed the hungry. Credits:CARE

New England is known for its seafood, the Boston Red Sox and Celtics. Less known is how one Christmas holiday New England took on the challenge of feeding the world.

The year was 1947, just two years after World War II, and nations in Europe and Asia were suffering food shortages. Americans were ready to help. When the holidays rolled around that year an announcement was made from Plymouth, Massachusetts asking families to feed a “silent guest” at their holiday meals.

By making a donation to the Silent Guest Committee, a CARE package would be sent to a hungry family in Europe. A newspaper headline saying “Feasts Provide for All” was the idea.

And the donations poured in. From Thanksgiving through Christmas people reached out to help those suffering overseas. CARE packages flooded Europe and other areas to feed the hungry. Food was life and hope for people trying to rebuild from the war ruins. Another headline read “New England Gives Cheer to the Needy.”

Hunger was fought at home too. In Boston, the Volunteers of America fed the homeless and the Salvation Army was very active.

As this Christmas arrives Americans can take in a “silent guest” at their holiday meal. Just taking some spare change they can purchase multiple meals. That’s right. If you were to find one dollar of change in a coat pocket, on a chair, or in a piggy bank you could feed a child for a week.

So this holiday think like Beantown and New England did in 1947 and feed a “silent guest.” Help change the world.

A few charities to send “Silent Guest” donations include:

World Food Programme

Catholic Relief Services



Save the Children

Feeding America

Church World Service


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Filed under global hunger, History

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