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|Dan West, Founder|
A Midwestern farmer named Dan West was ladling out rations of milk to hungry children during the Spanish Civil War when it hit him.
"These children don't need a cup, they need a cow."
West, who was serving as a Church of the Brethren relief worker, was forced to decide who would receive the limited rations and who wouldn't – literally, who would live and who would die. This kind of aid, he knew, would never be enough.
So West returned home to form Heifers for Relief, dedicated to ending hunger permanently by providing families with livestock and training so that they "could be spared the indignity of depending on others to feed their children."
|Dan West's idea has now changed the lives over 65 million people|
In 1944, the first shipment of 17 heifers left York, Pennsylvania, for Puerto Rico, going to families whose malnourished children had never even tasted milk. Learn about the cowboys who brought cows and kids together.
Why heifers? These are young cows that haven't yet given birth – making them perfect not only for supplying a continued source of milk, but also for supplying a continued source of support. That's because each family receiving a heifer agrees to "pass on the gift" and donate the female offspring to another family, so that the gift of food is never-ending.
This simple idea of giving families a source of food rather than short-term relief caught on and has continued for more than 65 years.