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When you think of great American Presidents, J. Edgar Hoover probably isn’t among the first images that pop into your mind. But it was Hoover’s food drive, his “Food Will Win the War” campaign that saved millions and millions of Europeans from death by starvation.

Hoover’s work made him, “the single greatest humanitarian in the history of the United States.”

Hoover could not watch, “innocent children and adults die from hunger that was avoidable.  He read reports of towns being reduced to eating grass, weeds, acorns, twigs, bark, roots, dirt—whatever was available… Hoover successfully overcame the needs of between 25 to 35 million people facing famine,” in Russia alone, according to the National Archives.

After the devastation of World War II, Europe was left in ruins. Millions of people were struggling to survive, facing the reality of hunger on a daily basis. In particular, Hoover was concerned about dying European children.

FAMINE CONDITIONS: “Calling all honest Americans and Europeans. Give Russia food and medicine.”

America Feeds Even Its Enemies

“Congress appropriated $100 million dollars to fund the ARA’s efforts to provide food for roughly 300 million people in twenty-one countries in Europe and the Middle East. Hoover was able to overcome opposition in providing food to the defeated Germany suffering from famine since hunger was reaching starvation levels,” say the National Archives.

Food Trucks

Hoover lobbied for relief and through his efforts trucks were filled and sent across Europe to aid its citizens: These trucks, filled with food and resources, brought much-needed aid to those in need, delivering hope to a continent in crisis.”

Thanks to the generosity of the American people, the Hoover Food Initiative saved countless lives and helped rebuild a broken Europe. Today, we continue this legacy of compassion and hope, delivering food and supplies to those who need it most.