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Food being Served to Children at a Hamburg School (1946)
In February 1946, the authorities in the British occupation zone began providing schools with food from army supplies in order to alleviate the worst hardship among children. The Red Cross and CARE helped support the program, as did Quaker groups and Swedish and Danish organizations. Meals cost between 10 and 20 cents, regardless of parental income, and represented a true supplement to the daily food rations since the children did not require food stamps to purchase them. The daily school meal consisted of a bowl of soup containing 300 calories; twelve- and thirteen-year-olds were given an additional piece of bread or biscuits. Former American president Herbert C. Hoover played a central role in ensuring that the school meal program was continued in the Bizone. After the First World War, Hoover had headed the American Relief Administration, which had provided food for the starving populations of more than twenty countries. In 1946, President Truman, a Democrat, appointed him chair of the Emergency Famine Commission, in which capacity he traveled to Europe to get a personal impression of the catastrophic food situation. Hoover, a Republican, was able to secure approval from the Republican-controlled Congress for special funds of $300 million (1947) and $600 million (1948) for the purchase of food for Germany. Furthermore, on behalf of military governor Lucius D. Clay, he persuaded the American War Department to approve the use of U.S. Army rations to feed children and the elderly. From April 1947 on, a total of 3.5 million children received school meals as part of Hoover’s relief campaign. Photographer unknown.