Meet Stanislaw Debert; at the end of 1945, Mr. Debert was the recipient of one of the 150 heifers sent by the Heifer Project to Poland on the SS Santiago Iglesias. In early October, I had the good fortune to sit and talk with him, his wife, and a daughter in their home near Gdansk about what that heifer meant to them.
At the end of World War II when Europe was seething with displaced persons, Mr. Debert arrived in the area of Gdansk. He fled from Kielce on the roof of a train car with only the clothes he was wearing.
He started his life over with his wife on his allotment of a 50-hectare farm (123 acres). There was nothing to eat, not even fruits and vegetables. However, help was on its way in the form of a heifer from the Heifer Project as well as a horse and canned food goods from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. UNRRA is the organization that provided the shipping for the Heifer Project animals.
The heifer was so important to the family that they kept her in the house with them. The Russians, Poland's "liberators," had been stealing and eating farm animals during that time. The Deberts didn't want that to happen to their beloved cow. She was the only cow on their farm and served them well for the next five years. Sadly, she got sick and had to be put down. Mr. Debert said, "The children cried. It was a very sad time." Even talking about it some sixty-three years later brought tears to his eyes.
Mr. Debert, now 89, asked me how he could thank the people who sent him his cow. I told him I would convey the message for him. And so, to you supporters of Heifer International, and especially those of you involved in the early years, on behalf of Mr. Debert and others like him, I pass on to you their hugs and tears of gratitude and say, "Thank you, thank you!"
P.S. I found Stanislaw Debert's name on a list of recipients from the SS Santiago Iglesias shipment in the process of researching Heifer's first decade in order to write a book about it. While in Europe, I also had the opportunity to meet with German recipients of heifers in 1950. I tell their story in a "Letter to the Editor" in the upcoming Spring 2014 World Ark.
- Peggy Reif Miller
The end of hunger isn’t a fairy tale
Welcome to the Heifer family. Donors, volunteers, recipients and our teams around the world share a common goal: To end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. It’s a lofty goal, but we know it's achievable. Together we are the family that can create this change.
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See stories of how lives are being transformed around the globe through Heifer's work in more than 40 countries.
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First Presbyterian is raising funds for the Heifer Nepal project participants affected by the recent earthquakes. We hope these eye-catching posters help them reach their goal! First Presbyterian can be reached at www.fpceh.org.
When Nicole Feinour received Heifer International's Read to Feed promotional material in the mail, she had no idea just how well her students would take to the idea. Teaching a class of only five students in the 3rd and 4th grades, Nicole decided they were capable and motivated enough to reach the lofty $995 goal she set. In order to reach their goal, she charged each student's sponsor (family members and friends) a flat rate for either time spent reading or per book, depending on what the sponsor preferred. Dedicating a half hour to 45 minutes per day to reading for Heifer International, the students were able to surpass their $995 goal by April, raising an impressive total of $1,100! This amounted to about 150 books read between her five students in four months! "We did this project as part of our missions class and we are very excited about helping others in need," Nicole wrote in the letter she sent in with their donation. To Cheyenne, McKenna, Genevieve, Andrea and Rachael, the students of Miss Feinour's classroom, we thank you for the hard work and dedication you put into this fundraiser! We are so grateful to have you on our side fighting hunger and poverty.
The Modern Media class at Towson University, located in Maryland, is made of up international students from around the world who are studying English as a Second Language. These students read an article about Beatrice Biira and were very inspired by Beatrice’s story. Beatrice was a young girl in Uganda whose life was radically changed when Heifer International donated a goat to her poor family...
As an international organization, the origin of the donations we receive shouldn't surprise us but they frequently do! When we received a $120 check from a Girl Scout Daisy Troop located in Germany, it made the world seem a little smaller. Not only that, but the hard work and dedication the troop put into fundraising was incredibly inspiring...
"I can't imagine a time without Heifer's influence on our family," Heifer International Public Facilities Board member, Elizabeth Small, shared...
Abbey's Animals is the name of our Heifer International Mission Project at Grace United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. Named after one of our youngest members, Abbey goes around with the feed bucket and collects spare change every week. At the end of the year, we let her choose from a list how to spend our money. At the end of 2014 we raised $425, which Abbey chose to purchase one goat, a share of a sheep, a flock of chicks, and to send a girl to school. We can't wait to see what our small but mighty church will do this year!!!
I am the first grade teacher at St. Bridget School in Manchester, CT. I am writing you this letter because this enclosed gift of $368 is very special. It is a gift from the children in grades 1 and 8 in our school...
My father, Elmer Huffman, volunteered through the Church of the Brethren to take a load of dairy heifers to Holland in 1944. He then joined UNRRA and worked to take two additional loads of cattle and horses to Europe. My brothers and I kept our family farm running, milking 24 cows and handling all the chores with the other livestock. Our family of seven kids were very proud of our father and his willingness to be of service to the hurting farmers in Europe after the war. We have continued to support the Heifer project as a memorial to our Dad.
Carrie Schweitzer, Director of Sustainability, at Brookhaven College in Dallas, TX sent Heifer International a letter, updating us about a recent fundraiser conducted by the college's Green Team Coalition. She shared the following with us...
This photo features Velma Perry, a loyal donor in Oregon, who was the lucky recipient of a mailing Heifer International sent to some of our supporters last year. The mailer included a packet of flower seeds and a note about motherhood. We want to thank Velma for sharing the amazing sunflowers that resulted from the gift we sent her. This Mother's Day, honor your mother and all mothers around the world by doing what they do every day: making the world a better place.
Dear Heifer: Some weeks ago I began a project with the children of Union United Methodist Church to raise money for a heifer cow...
The French and Spanish Clubs at Medford Area High School in Medford, WI held a fundraiser for your organization during Foreign Language Week this year. We sold foreign candy, had a Foreign Film Night at the local movie theatre, held a dance with a raffle and took donations in return for Heifer International buttons (they were a big hit)...
Two years ago a 10-year old unknowingly found himself in the midst of a very serendipitous moment. While visiting his grandparents, he noticed a small catalog featuring a photo of healthy, happy-looking livestock. Being curious, Cade Borchard and his grandma sat down to read the catalog cover to cover. What he learned changed his life. The catalog was one of Heifer International’s infamous gift catalogs...
We love giving to Heifer International. We have a quarter tube display in our home. We encourage friends that visit to donate. We recently raised $60.00 to buy a Flock of Hope at Easter. We love to visit the Perryville, AR center, so we took the quarters there for a special time of giving. We even got to love on some baby goats.
In celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year we chose to support Heifer International for our inaugural monthly dinner event at The Rose Room in Venice, CA, just steps away from the beach. While we get to enjoy the privilege of having such a dinner, we wanted to recognize the country of Mexico and also give back to those that do not have swift or easy access to food/water/opportunities.