Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Charity Begins at Home

According to several studies, Americans are among the most generous countries in the world, giving more to charity, per capita and as a percentage of gross domestic product, than the citizens of many other nations. A large percentage of the donations are to religious organizations, but a close second is giving to relief organizations such as the Red Cross, 9-11 Fund, National Cancer Society, etc.

This type of generosity was also evident during WWII. Despite the widely held isolationist views that kept the U.S. out of the war until after Pearl Harbor, Americans regularly donated money to relieve the suffering of the victims in Europe. In addition, Americans opened their homes to children who were evacuated from war zones. As the needs grew, numerous charities on behalf of the British people were created: American Committee for Air Raid Relief, American Ambulance in Great Britain, American Hospital in Britain, and British American Ambulance Corps.

Incorporated in 1941, the British War Relief Society was an umbrella organization that handled the non-military supply of food, clothes, medical supplies and financial aid. BWRS acted as the administrative and receiving center for donated items that were then parceled out to affiliate organizations for distribution. Countless celebrities donated royalties from movies, plays, and books to the cause. The Duchess of Windsor, American Wallis Simpson wrote a cookbook in 1942, and donated all proceeds to BWRS. Other fundraising efforts include the selling of memorabilia ceramics, books, bookmarks, stamps, celluloid badges, cigarette cases and compacts, many of which displayed the society’s emblem of a lion rampant and shield while others featured the motto of the British monarch “Dieu et mon Droit (God and my right).

Do you have a favorite relief organization?
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A freelance writer for over ten years, Linda Shenton Matchett also writes historical fiction. She is currently seeking a publisher for her series about WWII war correspondent Ruth Brown. Visit her at www.LindaShentonMatchett.com


  1. I have long been a supporter of the Red Cross. They do a marvellous job world wide.

  2. Hi Mary! I agree - the Red Cross is a wonderful organization. The have helped millions of people.

  3. Like you mentioned in the start of your post I am like most americans and mostly give to religious organizations. Of course I support my local church, but my husband and I also like to support our local Christian radio station... We tend to do any other giving locally as well, the local Rescue Mission and food pantry to name a few.

    1. Patty: Thanks for your reply. It's nice to hear you support your local Christian Radio station. We have a small near where we live, and I know they struggle. Christian Radio is so important.

  4. Great post! I live in Mississippi and it's # 1 in charitable giving--makes me proud. I think Americans are the most giving people anywhere. In addition to my church, I support a hippotherapy program that treats children.

  5. I enjoy all of the historical information that you shared, Linda. Early 20th century is my favorite time in history to learn more about. I checked out your website, as well. I wish you success with publication.

  6. I support Paralyzed Vets of America and St Jude's Hospital. I can never give enough to repay our veterans or to give hope to those ill children and their families but I try to help.