The Friendship Train

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In 1947, the Friendship Train hauled 270 boxcars of donated food,
 bound for the starving people of Europe.

Photo courtesy James E. Casto

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Drew Pearson (1897-1969) was one of the best-known American
journalists of his day, noted for his widely-read syndicated
newspaper column and his popular
program on NBC Radio.

When World War II ended, much of Europe was devastated. Its cities lay
 in ruins and literally millions of people were starving. Touring Europe
 after the war, Pearson noted that Russia was being lauded for sending
a few carloads of free grain to Europe. The great fanfare given
 such meager aid rankled him ó and he
resolved to do something about it.

Beginning Oct. 11, 1947, Pearson used his column and his radio show to urge
 Americans to donate food that could be shipped across the Atlantic to the
starving people of Europe. The nation enthusiastically responded to Pearsonís
 plea. Cities formed committees to collect non-perishable foodstuffs for what
came to be called the Friendship Train. Just a few weeks after Pearsonís
 announcement, the Friendship Train began its unprecedented odyssey
 across America. It was given a star-studded sendoff in Los Angeles
 and ended in New York with another big celebration.

Although the train itself traveled through only 11 states, every state
was able to participate by collecting food and sending
it off to meet up with the Friendship Train.

In Huntington, citizens were urged to donate cartons of condensed milk.
A dozen donation locations were set up around the city, and the
International Nickel Co. bought a full-page newspaper ad
 listing the locations and urging people to help.

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Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Feb. 14, 2023.

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