Friday, April 11, 2008

Dan West and the Spanish Civil War

A turning point in the life of Dan West came in 1937 when he went to Spain for five months where he worked with a relief campaign aiding the victims of both sides in the Spanish Civil War. He wrote a number of letters and articles that opened the eyes of many to the need for better relief organizations.

The idea that eventually became Heifer Project International began to take shape while West was in Spain. He often handed out powdered milk and water to long lines of mothers and children. While he knew the supplies he was distributing were saving lives, he also knew these same people would be back the next day. The eyes of these people haunted him, and he became determined to find a way to break the cycle of handouts and hunger.

Upon his return from Spain in 1938, West began proposing the idea of shipping dairy cows to areas in need to restock the devastated farms so a steady supply of milk could once again become available. In addition, the recipient of the animal would agree to give the first female offspring to someone else in need.

Many of his neighbors in Elkhart County, Indiana took up the idea and .... Stay tuned tomorrow, an anniversary of sorts, for the official beginnings of Heifer Project.

Source: Planting the Faith in a New Land