After extensive research by national officers as to how best to provide war relief efforts on a national scale,
the decision was made to begin supporting French war orphans.
According to the National Council, this would “meet the great demands at present and will provide us with an appealing, satisfying, systemized form of relief work, and one that as a fraternity we can carry out with facility and without excessive strain.”
After a committee on war relief chose the adoption of French orphans, from 1916 to 1921 Alpha Chi Omega members provided financial support for more than 100 French children.
Each active chapter was asked to adopt at least one orphan, with larger chapters sometimes adopting two.
Alumnae chapters were also asked to adopt one orphan—and it was hoped alumnae clubs could do the same.
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Payments were sent directly to the Committee of the Fatherless Children of France,
which was located in Boston, Massachusetts.
Zeta Zeta alumnae chapter in Boston, Massachusetts, was an especially strong supporter of the effort.
Zeta alumna Gladys Livingston Graff (who also served as National President from 1920-1924)
served as chairman of the French Orphan Committee, and the chapter supported three orphans over a five-year period.
In enthusiastically endorsing the program, Gladys entreated chapters to support the cause, saying,
“Stop a moment and consider that if each active and alumnae chapter, as well as the alumnae clubs,
would adopt one little orphan, fifty children’s futures could be provided for with the minimum effort and expense.
Then you will realize that this truly is a superb undertaking.”
Lyre Editor Florence Armstrong explained the undertaking to the membership at large in the January 1918 issue of The Lyre, explaining,
“The Council learned that at present the Fraternity could best serve by speedy and concerted aid to the destitute and bereaved children of France.
The fact that a number of our chapters and of our members have contributed already to this emergency in the past years has demonstrated the entire practicability and the deep appeal of this form of service.
The time may come when our energies may be needed in the saving of the fatherless children of America,
in which event the training we have received in our cooperation with the Orpheliant des Armees will prove an excellent preliminary.”
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