Ames 1944 Clothing for Russia Drive

Ames Daily Tribune, September 25, 1944

SCOUTS BEGIN 'CLOTHES FOR RUSSIA' CANVAS HERE TODAY - Ames Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts today began their house-to-house canvass of the city to remind Ames residents of the "clothes for Russia" pickup which will be held Wednesday from 6 to 8 p. m.  Fleets for trucks, manned by representatives of Ames service clubs will make the pickups, with each club being responsible for one of Ames’ four wards.  The Wednesday night "push" will be part of the week-long effort beginning today and ending Saturday.

Meanwhile, Joe Gerbracht, chairman of the local drive, disclosed that children's garments and shoes sent from American through Russian War Relief have provided complete wardrobes for several hundred Russian war orphans brought from recently recaptured areas to the Moscow Central Children's home.

Gerbracht said that a cable announcing receipt of this clothing has been received by the national headquarters of Russian War Relief from Minna Hedjobekhova, superintendent of the Moscow orphanage, which has accommodations for 150 boys and girls.  With her own husband and two sons at the front, Madam Hedjobekhova is devoting all her time to the care of these unfortunates, some mere infants, whom the war has deprived of parents and homes.  One group of 26 was recently flown to the institution under guerrilla protection.

To nurse the children back to physical and mental health under the conditions prevailing in their war-torn homeland is difficult, according to the superintendent.  She reported that most of her charges arrive at the home dressed in rags.

Urging Ames families to contribute garments they can spare to the Russian War Relief clothing collection.  Gerbracht said.  "Sharing our clothing with our courageous Russian allies in their dire need is one concrete way of showing our gratitude for their heroic struggle, which has saved so many American lives.  It will also serve as a splendid good-will gesture that will further the good neighborly relations between our two peoples for an enduring peace."  Persons contributing clothing are invited to write personal messages on the red, white and blue tags prepared by Russian War Relief for this purpose.  These messages mean a great deal to the families receiving these friendly gifts in the areas which have been stripped of all the amenities of life by Nazis destruction and plunder.

Ames Daily Tribune, September 26, 1944

EVERYTHING SET FOR 'CLOTHES FOR RUSSIA' PICKUP TOMORROW - Ames Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls continued their house-to-house drive on the city today, laying the groundwork for crews of service club members who will tour the city tomorrow night in the "Clothes for Russia" drive.

The Scouts and Camp Fire Girls, all armed with bulletins explaining the drive, expect to complete their work tonight.  They are under the direction of Jerry Malone and Mrs. H. L. Willson.  At 6 p.m. tomorrow, trucks and passenger cars will start their rounds.  Lions club members have been assigned to the first ward; Kiwanis club to the second ward; Elks club to the third ward and the Rotary club to the fourth ward.  Tomorrow’s drive is expected to be completed by 8 p.m.  Joe Gerbracht, chairman of the drive, reported that the basement of the Sheldon-Munn hotel has been secured as a temporary depot for the clothing.  There it will be sorted.

FREE SHOW - Meanwhile, Gerbracht reported that Ames school children would be given a chance to see a free show and at the same time aid in the drive which will end Saturday.  Gerbracht has given a large block of theater tickets to school principals.  These tickets will be given to children bringing bundles of clothes to the schools.

Malone’s Boy Scouts and Mrs. Willson’s Camp Fire Girls will assist in handling the crowds of students or adults who bring bundles of clothes to the special show that will be held Thursday, Sept. 26.  Performances will start at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and the show will be given at the Varsity on Friday, with performances at 4 and 7 p.m.  Students taking the bundles to the schools will be given tickets which will be honored at either one of those two theaters.  The feature is Martha O’Driscoll and Noah Berry in "Allergic to Love" and there will on [sic] Our Gang short, "Tale of a Dog" and a technicolor cartoon, "What’s Cookin, Doc?"

Gerbracht once more emphasized the kind of clothing needed included almost everything to be found in that line in Ames homes.  Among these articles, he said, are top coats, sweaters, underwear, shoes (tied together) socks, stockings, wool and felt hats, suits, coats, dresses, skirts, blouses, and all kinds of bed clothing.

Ames Daily Tribune, September 28, 1944

AMES ALMOST GIVES SHIRT OFF ITS BACK IN 'AID RUSSIA' CAMPAIGN - More than 35 truckloads of clothing, ranging from fur coats to silk stocking [sic], were collected in Ames last night as [80] businessmen, professors and doctors and more than 40 boys and girls ranged the city in the "Clothes for Russia" drive.  For more than three hours, the representatives of the Elks, Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions club and Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls conducted their house-to-house drive, finally finishing just ahead of a rain which at times threatened to put a crimp in the procedure.

Standing beside the huge clothing pile – estimated to total about a freight-car load – in the basement of the Sheldon Munn hotel, Drive Chairman Joe Gerbracht last night termed the collection "a great success."

"The people of Ames have opened their hearts to their great allies," Gerbracht said as several of the 20 trucks furnished by Ames firms stood near the hotel awaiting unloading.  "One family," Gerbracht said, "sent a box which carried on the outside a note saying ‘Please do not open and sort this clothing.  This box contains a complete wardrobe for a family of four.’

"Undoubtedly, we may have missed some homes where bundles were ready," Gerbracht said, "and we would like to urge those persons to bring their donations to the theaters or to the basement of the hotel."
Most of the clothes, in bundles, were in good shape and there was evidence that Ames housewives had taken care to inspect and mend them before turning them in.  One lady donated three pair of shoes, all of which had been half-soled for the occasion.  Gerbracht praised highly the work of the service club members and scouts and Camp Fire Girls and was appreciative of the cooperation given by Supt. of Schools Marvin T. Nodland, who urged principals of local schools to give every possible assistance to the drive.

STILL TO COME - Still to come, were the donations of the school children who will be able to see a free show by turning in bundles at their schools or at the Ames theaters.  Gerbracht has donated a large block of tickets for the schools.  The show "Allergic to Love" and two additional features, was presented at the Capitol at 4 o’clock this afternoon and will be given again at 7 p.m.  Tomorrow the same features will be shown at the Varsity theaters at the same time.

SORTING NEXT - Next big task facing workers in the drive will be the sorting of the clothing.  This will be done by members of the Faculty Women’s Club, under the direction of Mrs. George Carter.  The clubs probably will be assisted in the sorting by Camp Fire Girls.  Firms furnishing trucks in last night’s pickup were Prehm Transfer; Orning Awning co.; Firestone Stores; Diesel Service; Fall Oil co.; General Filter co.; Adams Mortuary; Edwards Coal co.; James Thompson and Sons; Ames Lumber and Material co.; H. L. Munn Lumber co.; Rushing Super-Value; Eschbach Music store; Collegiate Manufacturing Co.; Montgomery-Ward co.; Coe’s Flower shop; the City of Ames and Iowa State college (two trucks).  B. H. Cottingham furnished an automobile.

Ames Daily Tribune, September 29, 1944

TWO CARLOADS OF CLOTHING ARE COLLECTED - Joe Gerbracht, chairman of the local "Clothes for Russia" drive, announced today that receipts totaled at least two carloads with more clothes still pouring in to local schools and theatres.  Gerbracht will meet this afternoon with Mrs. George Carter of the Faculty Women’s club, and with Mrs. D. L. Holl, of the Ames Woman’s club, to make plans for sorting of the mountain of clothing now deposited in the basement of the Sheldon-Munn hotel.

Assisting in the sorting will be Ames Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls under the direction of G. E. Malone and Mrs. L. H. Willson.  Gerbracht issued a call also for men volunteers to assist in the sorting.  Yesterday, Ames school children attended two showings of "Allergic to Love" at the Capitol theater, making their contributions at the door or showing tickets given to them for bringing their donations to schools.

The same feature will be presented this afternoon, at 4 o’clock and again this evening at 7 o’clock, at the Varsity theater in the 4th ward.  Meanwhile, Gerbracht said that outlying communities had been active and were making contributions to the drive.

Ames Daily Tribune, October 4, 1944

AMES 'CLOTHES FOR RUSSIA' DRIVE IS 'BRIGHT SPOT' FOR ALL IOWA - The "Clothes for Russia" drive in Ames netted 25,000 pounds of clothing, Joe Gerbrach, chairman of the drive, announced today after final tabulation of the figures.  The collection in Ames shoved the city to near the top in the state, according to information reaching Gerbrach this morning.

A. H. Blank, chairman of the state drive said:
"Ames is the bright spot of Iowa in the drive.  On a population basis, the city furnished more clothes than any other city reporting."

Gerbrach praised highly the efforts of Ames housewives who furnished the clothing and the work of civic clubs in collecting and sorting the material.  "The work of all concerned was magnificent," Gerbrach declared.  "The material we received was excellent and there was very little discard.  Ames is tops when it comes to cooperating 100 per cent in a project of this kind."

Ames Daily Tribune, October 4, 1944

EDITOR’S NOTE: -
The drive DID show what Ames can do when it puts its shoulder to the wheel.  And without much fuss either.  There didn’t appear to be much enthusiasm for the drive at the board of strategy meeting held by Gerbrach the week before the drive began.

True, there were representatives there from most Ames service groups.  But no one had much to say as Gerbrach pushed the plans.  But underneath, most of those there were doing some thinking.  "Those Russians," most of the thoughts probably went.  "They need some clothing – they’ve been fighting a winning battle for us.  For themselves, too, but – wonder what I’ve got that I could give them."

The idea spread.  Women talked about it at club meetings.  They began rummaging through attics, basements, wondering if perhaps they couldn’t get rid of some of the clothes they had on hand.  The Monday of the week of the drive, Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls under the direction of Gerry Malone and Mrs. L. H. Willson began canvassing the city, urging that the clothes be made ready.  They went out again on Tuesday night.

Wednesday between 6 p. m. and 8 p. m. members of the Elks, Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis clubs, in 20 trucks furnished by as many Ames firms made the collection, finishing the job just ahead of a rain that might have slowed the proceedings.  The trucks unloaded at the rear of the Sheldon-Munn hotel.  Local doctors, professors and businessmen spent the evening at hard physical labor piling the clothes in a basement room furnished by Frank Ruble, manager of the hotel.  Then the Ames Woman’s club and the Faculty Women’s club took over, assisted by the scouts and Camp Fire Girls.  They sorted the clothing, piled it in boxes – prepared it for shipment to Vladivostok.  It was a big job, but the women and boys and girls breezed through.  The Tribune and Dick Hull at WOI aided in the publicity campaign.

Mr. Montgomery, Story County agent, brought farm response with letters to all the 4-H clubs and Farm Bureau members.  Gerbrach presented four free shows, two at the college and two downtown, and Ames youngsters responded with other donations.  The impetus given the drive in these combined efforts still is being felt.

Yesterday, Gerbrach received a letter enclosing a one dollar bill.  The note said: "Please buy needles and thread with this bill."

Ames is mighty fortunate to have the Russians on its side.  The Russians are mighty fortunate to have Ames on its side, too