Tag Archives: Belgium

Forget me Knots and feeding the hungry

Last month I wrote a story at the Huffington Post about BeCause Jewelry, which donates to world hunger relief. One of the items they sell is a necklace called a Forget-me-Knot.

Read the article at Examiner.

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She Wanted to Mourn, But Chose to Save A Life

In my article Armistice Day, World Peace and Feeding the Hungry, I talk about the amazing work of the Belgian Relief Commission. They fed the hungry in Belgium, as well as Northern France, during World War One and in its aftermath.

One of its anonymous donors was a woman who wanted to buy flowers for a friend’s grave. She wanted to mourn. But she also was aware of the Belgian relief fund which had been collecting donations. She considered the two choices and decided to spend the 2 dollars on the Belgian relief fund. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported, “The possibility of saving a child in Belgium from starvation was the reason given” for her donation.

Two dollars in 1917 was worth about 2 months’ of meals. Frederick Chatfield, Cincinnati Branch Commissioner for relief in Belgium, reported the anonymous woman’s donation in an article discussing contributions and shipping. He said, “Cincinnati has responded splendidly to our appeal.”

The food sustained millions trapped by the fighting of World War One. In an article published by the newspaper in late 1916, Milton Brown wrote from Belgium, “Herbert Hoover, who heads the commission, is a remarkable man. He describes his job as feeding a kitten with a 40-foot pole, the kitten being in a cage between two hungry lions.”

On this Armistice Day, a two dollar donation could actually achieve close to two weeks’ worth of meals in countries suffering from conflict, natural disaster or extreme poverty. It could mean plumpy’nut to save small children from potentially deadly malnutrition; or it could mean school meals that not only prevent malnutrition, but help keep children learning in school.

There are tremendous needs around the globe today, and many ways you can help. Catholic Relief Services has set up an East Africa Relief Fund to fight the famine and drought there. Save the Children is collecting donations to help feed and give medicine to victims of massive floods which have struck Thailand.

Edesia, a producer of plumpy’nut, is holding a fundraiser titled the 11-11-11 project. Plumpy’nut is a special peanut paste desperately needed in many countries including Sudan, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has a We Feedback campaign which is like taking in a Silent Guest, one of the world’s hungry, at your next meal. WFP also has the online game called Free Rice which raises money for the hungry, and is free for the user to play.

To help those who are hungry within the United States, Feeding America supports a network of emergency food banks.

Article first published as She Wanted to Mourn, But Chose to Save A Life on Blogcritics.

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Armistice Day, World Peace, and Feeding the Hungry

One of the guns of Battery D, 105th Field Artillery, showing American flag which was hoisted after the last shot had been fired when the armistice took effect. Etraye, France. 11/11/1918Credits: National Archives

It was just a piece of paper. Yet on the morning of November 11, 1918, it meant peace.

For on that paper was a message from United States General John Pershing, ordering ceasefire on all fronts at 11 a.m. Germany had accepted the armistice. The Great War, or World War I, was over.

While the battlefields were filled with the most devastating firepower ever assembled, it was a small piece of paper that was the most powerful instrument of that day.

The announcing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, was the occasion for a monster celebration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thousands massed on all sides of the replica of the Statue of Liberty on Broad Street, and cheered unceasingly. Philadelphia Public Ledger. (National Archives)

Celebrations sprang up across the world. The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote, “It was Victory Day, and all Cincinnati helped celebrate this most momentous event in the history of the world.”

Americans fought and died right up to the armistice. Many who survived lived with the effects of shellshock . A whole world was in fact left shellshocked by the Great War, and millions of people were threatened with starvation and poverty as a result.

“Hunger knows no armistice,” a poster for the Near East Relief Committee stated. To tell the full story of World War I and its aftermath is to tell of hunger and great humanitarians.

The article in the Cincinnati Enquirer made it a point to mention the city’s impressive record providing relief throughout the conflict. In fact, in 1917 the paper printed the appeal of Frederick Chatfield, a leader for Belgium relief, who said one dollar a month would save a Belgian child from starvation and give him the extra food needed to keep him from disease. The newspaper even printed the names of those who sent in donations.

Cincinnati adopted the town of Hastiere in Belgium in order to help it rebuild from wartime destruction. Among the buildings damaged was a little church, built in the eleventh century, that was bombarded by shells.

The men and women who suffered through World War I deserved a lasting peace. However, the world was at war once again just two decades later. The Second World War would bring even more destruction than the first.

But on this Armistice Day, 2011, let’s remember that dream of world peace that should have followed the First World War, and not give up on that dream. The pursuit of world peace is the best memorial we can leave to the generation that sacrificed so much in the horror of the first World War.

Lands struck by war can recover. Interestingly, I recently received two messages from Belgium, one confirming that the country is a donor to the UN World Food Programme to help this agency fight hunger in conflict and disaster zones around the globe. The second message is from Hastiere. All is well there, and the little church is rebuilt-the Great War long in the rearview mirror.

Article first published as Armistice Day, World Peace and Feeding the Hungry on Blogcritics.

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