Once upon a time, there was a little four-year-old girl named Julie Alloro who wandered away from her home on a mission. Like many of us today watching the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, she was excited about the royal wedding of her time: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947.
But little Julie was also well aware of food shortages in Europe after World War II. She was concerned the princess would not have enough food on her special day. Newspaper accounts say the four-year-old wandered the streets by herself, even rode the subway, and ended up at the offices of a charity in Manhattan (likely CARE package headquarters).
Carrying a piggy bank, she roused company officials and asked them to send a turkey to Princess Elizabeth. Julie wanted to make then Princess Elizabeth happy on her wedding day.
The charity’s officers listened intently to her request while trying to locate her mother, which they eventually did. Once her mother arrived, it was learned that the charity’s circulars had been at the home, which gave Julie the idea. She had also been to the offices before with her mother.
Mrs. Alloro gave some money to purchase food to send as a royal wedding gift. Julie, however, wanted something from Princess Elizabeth in return for her effort. She asked her to send back the wishbone of the turkey.
At that time, many Americans did send CARE packages as wedding gifts. Princess Elizabeth had these packages given to poor families in England who were struggling after the war. Not only had war hit Europe, but harsh winters and drought had followed. So food was needed by many people on the continent.
CARE packages were one of the means by which Americans responded to hunger overseas. The Silent Guest program was also launched that Thanksgiving. Secretary of State George Marshall at about this very same time was proposing interim food aid which preceded the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe.
Fighting hunger was on the minds at the highest level, like Marshall and Truman, all the way down to four-year-old Julie Alloro. It’s no wonder that hunger in Europe after the war was defeated and the continent rebuilt.
Today, another royal wedding is making history. But maybe the little girl’s wish for Princess Elizabeth can be transferred to all the children in the world who are hungry and suffering today.
There is going to be huge business generated by the royal wedding in terms of memorabilia, etc. Perhaps someone with the power to do so can transfer some of the proceeds of this toward modern-day “CARE packages” for the hungry.
It can go toward purchases of life-saving plumpynut for infants and also school meals for children in developing countries. The UN World Food Programme has a Fill the Cup campaign to feed children who are suffering from hunger and lack of education. Let’s get food to all these children. This can make a historic wedding become a treasure for all humanity.