As many Americans struggle their way out of the Great Recession that has crippled much of the nation, it is important to look backward, to the Great Depression, to see how people survived then. In doing so, one might learn about a very generous man who is now the subject of a book, "A Secret Gift." This man's grandson has compiled a book based on the secret monetary gifts that his grandfather gave to those who asked for it:
Gup's grandfather sent 150 families checks of $5 – not an insignificant sum in 1933, considering that bread was then 7 cents a loaf. He took to his grave the secret of his generosity. And there it remained for more than seven decades until Gup's mother, at the time of her 80th birthday, handed over a dusty suitcase to her son, which contained copies of the letters and check receipts. Gup, in his role as both family archivist and former investigative reporter, then endeavored to learn why his grandfather was moved to make contributions and what happened to the receipts.
Today, with unemployment just below 10 percent, we can learn a great deal from those who were suffering at a rate more than twice that. The requests sent to Mr. B. Virdot were heartbreaking:
". . . I experienced the loss of all of my stock holdings, my home and everything of value I possessed together with 35 years of hard work and efforts, leaving me without a dollar to support my family," wrote Frank J. Dick.
Many wanted loans, not gifts:
"I could use $2 Xmas so that my wife & I could go to her home in Alliance, but as a loan," wrote Geo. Carlin.
You can learn more about this impressive man and the account of his generosity during a time of desperation behind this link. It's good reading.