Commission for Relief in Belgium
After German armies occupied neutral Belgium in August 1914, the nation faced food shortages and other deprivations. Belgium did not produce enough food to feed itself, and Germany refused to divert resources from its war effort to assist the Belgians. The plight of Belgium attracted worldwide sympathy. Successful businessman and future U.S. president Herbert Hoover undertook leadership of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, which sought to feed and clothe the Belgians and avert starvation. This letter summarizes the results of that relief effort through the middle of 1915, which included the collection of 71 million francs worth of food. These pages from a trade publication for American wheat manufacturers show bags of flour at a distribution depot in Brussels as well as other means of directly feeding the population. The Commission shipped close to 700 million bags of wheat to towns across Belgium. By mid-1915 the Commission was also assisting the people of German-occupied northern France.