Years ago a drive was made by the pupils of St. Mary’s School to send food to the needy people in Europe during World War II. The plan was that each boy and girl would bring as many canned goods as the family household could spare. It all was sent over in a general hamper.
One of the students, Miss Mary France Agnes O’Neill wondered where her donation might end up— so she put her name and address on one of the cans. Months later she received a reply from one of the families in France.
Dear Mademoiselle O’Neill,
We have received a box of ‘conserves’ from your town and thank you very much. I have three children, Pierre, Colette and Joel. It is very hard in France to get food. I would be happy to get a letter from you.
Madame DeBitaultWhen Mary Frances Agnes O’Neill was born on July 13, 1931, in Almonte, Ontario, her father, Daniel, was 29, and her mother, Mary, was 28. She had two brothers and one sister. She died on December 2, 2018, in Carleton Place, Ontario, at the age of 87, and was buried in her hometown.
Did you know?
More than a year after World War II concluded in Europe, the residents of Le Havre, France, continued to struggle for survival. Their homes remained leveled, their stomachs chronically empty.
On May 11, 1946, relief arrived from across the ocean as the cargo ship American Traveler steamed into the war-torn city’s harbor with a shipment of food—and hope. Aboard were 15,000 brown cardboard boxes paid for by the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE), which had been founded the previous year to bring humanitarian aid to millions starving in post-war Europe. These first “CARE Packages” contained everything from whole-milk powder and liver loaf to margarine and coffee. The contents of CARE Packages soon expanded to include soap, diapers, school supplies and medicine as well as fabric, thread and needles to allow recipients to make and mend clothes.