Hoover's Dedication to Children's Causes
The loss of both parents before his tenth birthday made Herbert Hoover deeply sympathetic to children in need. When World War I started in 1914, Hoover was a successful businessman living in London. But when the 40-year old mining engineer learned that the people of Belgium were facing starvation because of military blockades of vital food imports, he could not stand idly by.
Hoover stepped forward to organize and direct the Commission for Relief of Belgium, a non-political agency that helped feed millions of people in Belgium and northern France for almost four and a half years. It was a mission that defined Herbert Hoover around the world as a man of moral courage, initiative, and compassion.
As President, Hoover increased the budget for children's programs and called a landmark White House Conference on Child Health and Protection. In 1936, the former President found a new cause to inspire him. As chairman of the Boys' Clubs of America—a post Hoover held for more than 25 years—he helped open 500 new chapters, while his fundraising skills laid the groundwork for the nonprofit organization to grow and provide after-school programs to more than four million boys and girls throughout the U.S. But his work still wasn't done. In 1946, Hoover was instrumental in the creation of UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, a leading advocate for children's welfare and rights around the world.