In a letter submitted to Congress, Gabriel recounted the powerful impact of the Silent Guest program. She described, "through the simple technique of asking each American family to place an extra plate symbolically at their feast table on Thanksgiving Day for a hungry child - or to entertain a silent guest, many thousands of children were fed, housed, clothed after the war all over Europe, including Iron Curtain countries."
Gabriel also told of the reaction of many in Europe who wrote letters of thanks; "we don't know who the person is in America that sent us a silent guest CARE package, but if this is the spirit of America, God Bless America."
It was the Cold War though, and the response was not always positive. In one of the Iron Curtain countries Gabriel recalled, "I was insulted by the top Communist official, who challenged me to go back to Georgia, U.S.A., where I was born and wash my own dirty linen. This device was used to avoid giving a press conference which would have informed the Polish people that an American woman was in their midst, who was responsible for helping feed their war orphans."
But ignorant words were not going to stop Gabriel and the legacy she created with the Silent Guest. She reflected that "Many others, including the late Pope Pius, saw within the technique of the silent guest at feast days a catalyst which would bind all races, cultures, and religions in a common goal - peace. "
If anyone out there from Hollywood is reading, perhaps Iris Gabriel should finally get her Hollywood spotlight now in the form of a film on her achievement. With it could come the revival of the Silent Guest program. For today there are starving children in Afghanistan, Sudan and so many other countries around the world. The kind of spirit shown by Gabriel and others of the Greatest Generation in helping feed war victims is what the world wishes for in 2011.