Signs of the Times

[Il Nuovo Giornale, Florence, Italy (Translated from the Italian)]

At Boston, U.S.A., The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, has maintained for a long time a War Relief fund formed with the voluntary contributions of the Christian Scientists of America in order to come to the help of those countries stricken by the war. This fund was started two months after the breaking out of hostilities and by virtue of these contributions large and numerous sums of money have been distributed in Armenia, Servia, Poland, Lithuania, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Holland, France, England, Canada, and so forth. All the needy, without distinction of either religion or creed, nationality or political views, have profited and will profit by these gifts, which are distributed with the greatest modesty and delicacy. The Florence branch of The Mother Church, which has been established in this city for many years, received a large sum of money from the fund toward the end of 1916, and at the beginning of 1917 at once began operations, distributing money, clothes, boots and shoes, coal, food, linen, tickets for the economic kitchens, eggs and milk for the old and for the children. Then, to provide the many deserving and willing poor with some way of earning a living by their own work, the reading room at 1 Via della Spada was transformed into a room for the distribution of the raw material and as a depository for the made-up articles, all work done being literally paid for. They bought for many thousands of lire the raw material, especially wool and cloth of various qualities, so that it became possible to send to the front a very considerable quantity of socks and shirts, many things being also sent to the various military hospitals of Florence. Letters received bear witness to the gratitude both of officers and of men in the trenches.

When the refugees from the invaded provinces fled to Florence, the help given to them was prompt and efficacious. Boots and shoes, socks, clothes of all descriptions, and blankets, were distributed largely, as well as help in money, to the amount of many thousands of lire. In Florence itself and in many other cities of Italy, more especially in Brescia and Sarzana, the rents of more than six hundred families, principally those of soldiers, were paid. Brescial being in the war zone, the work carried on there was more intense, but the work was also extended to Rome and Loreto, and to the Carrara Mountains, where at least a hundred families receive regular assistance from the fund.

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March 29, 1919

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