Forget pandas, whales or rainforests. In 1940, Blantyre residents could “adopt a prisoner of war!” On 2nd December 1940, the Hamilton Advertiser ran with this story. I’m slightly amazed at how sporting the German officers were in allowing the parcels to be given to camps, and more than a little suspicious that all these gifts perhaps didn’t end up where they were intended for!
“YOU CAN ADOPT A PRISONER OF WAR.
Would you like to adopt a prisoner of war in Germany? Your brother, father, fiancé, workmate? Regular contributors to the Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund may now have their pennies earmarked for the benefit of individual prisoners.
Each week thousands of parcels of provisions and little luxuries of various kinds are sent to our men in German prison camps. The cost of each parcel is approximately ten shillings, 120 pennies. If you can raise that amount each week by persuading your friends at the office or in the factory to join a Penny-a-Week Fund contributing group you can name your own “adoptee.”
Perhaps your place of employment has a large number of workers. In that case by getting their interest and help, you may be able to adopt more than one man. On the other hand, your workmates may number only a dozen or so. No matter. You will still be able to help to provide for one prisoner.
These parcels are immensely appreciated by our men “out there.” But the Red Cross service for prisoners is not confined to food. Consignments of medical supplies, special food for invalids, cigarettes and tobacco, and books, are also sent out at regular intervals. Altogether these services are eating up Red Cross Funds at the rate of £1, 0000,000 a year. At present contributors to the Penny-a-Week Fund are supplying rather more than one half of that sum.
But please do not run away the idea that unless you and your friends continue to contribute, your particular prisoners will go without his parcel. He will get it just the same. The Red Cross treats all alike. But if you don’t do something for your friend or relative it simply means that others are doing it for you. That is between you and your conscience.
The way the fund works is very simple. A postcard to the Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund, 89 Kingsway, London, W.C.2, will bring you details. Remember, you can help a prisoner of war even if you can only raise a few pennies each week. “