And they were certainly there in World War II providing the men and women in the Armed Forces with so many of the things they needed. For example...
No sooner had the US entered the war and American soldiers were unfortunately sometimes taken prisoner. In 1942, the Red Cross vowed to send one care package per week to every American POW. In the first year of the war, they actually shipped out more that 1,000,000 care packages to the POWs.
That same year, the Red Cross collected over 1,000,000pints of blood and were asked if they could collect at least 4,000,000 in 1943. I have no doubt they succeeded.
in the US, and later in Britain, the Red Cross opened and maintained clubs where soldiers could go to relax, have some refreshments, play some games, dance a little and chat with other soldiers and the volunteers. These same volunteers would faithfully meet troop trains with coffee, sandwiches and doughnuts whenever they stopped at a railway station.
Clubs were so successful, that in 1942, the Red Cross introduced the clubmobile, a mobile canteen, for the servicemen and women stationed in Britain and coffee and doughnuts were always available.
Not surprisingly, by October 1944, there were a total of 84 clubmibiles close to the front lines, serving an average of 100,000 cups of coffee and 150,000 doughnuts every day. The women volunteers who ran these clubs had to sleep in bedrolls underneath their vehicles at night.
So, were the doughnuts really so good or was it the company that made them taste that way? Now you can be the judge...
Red Cross Doughnuts
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp butter or substitute, melted
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup molasses
1/4/ cup sour milk (buttermilk)
1 egg well beaten
Combine half of the flour with the soda, salt and ginger.
Combine the egg, molasses, sour milk and melted butter or substitute.
Blend with flour mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
Add remaining flour to make dough of sufficient to be rolled.
Roll, on floured board, to thickness of 1/4 inch.
Cut with a donut cutter.
Fry in deep hot fat (360 degrees) until lightly browned, about 2 03 three minutes.
Drain on brown paper.
This recipe came from the online American Red Cross Museum, which you may want to visit to learn more about what the Red Cross did in WWII. And just in case these doughnuts put you in a party mood, there are also detailed instructions for having a Red Cross Canteen Party.
And Better Late Than Never...
On May 23, 2012, the Senate passed Resolution 471 "commending the efforts of the women of the American Red Cross Clubmobiles for exemplary service during the Second World War."
Weekend Cooking is a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads