Last week there was an amazing story emerging in the aftermath of the tornadoes that devastated Alabama. A little dog, a terrier, who was blown away from his home by a tornado managed to survive. After suffering two broken legs, the scrappy terrier still managed to crawl back to his home, two weeks after the tornado hit.
I am reminded of another terrier who back in 1941 was homeless. The scrappy dog was left wandering and on Christmas stuck his head in the doorway of the Bonning family in Detroit. The family had just finished their Christmas dinner and had left the door open as the house was warm. The little terrier could not believe his luck. They took him in as their pet and named him Topper.
Copy of a September 26, 1947 newspaper photo of Topper the Dog with Lucetta Bonning (courtesy Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Public Library)
The little terrier, though, was going blind and lost his sight. The Bonnings wanted to restore his vision and set him up for a corneal transplant in Washington, DC. The Associated Press later reported that Topper was in good shape following the surgery, and that is the last known status available.
But the same day the original Topper story grabbed headlines, there was another historic event taking place. President Harry Truman had just been presented a report on the escalating hunger crisis facing the globe by his Cabinet Committee on Food.
This was a pivotal moment in history, as the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe was being crafted. Hunger could sink this plan, which was proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall on June 5, 1947.
What followed was an interim aid food package to several of the most desperate countries in Europe. A massive outpouring of public support in the form of the Friendship Train, CARE packages, and other plans sent more food on its way to reach the needy.
It was a scrappy effort in itself to beat back hunger and win the peace after World War II.
Today, we need to duplicate this kind of effort . Do not forget the hungry, starving and malnourished people around the world. The most important step we can take to help these people and to build peace is to get them the foundation they need most of all: food. Whether it’s Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, or Haiti, food is the essential basis of all things for their society, for what it is to become.
When we see the reports of malnourished children and low food supplies because of lack of funding, we should be outraged; and as in 1947, we should do something about it. Fight hunger both at home and abroad.
For more information on fighting global hunger please visit the World Food Programme.