By September of 1918 the end of the WWI was near. It was estimated that the demobilization of nearly four million U.S. troops would require at least two years and a staggering sum for programs to maintain morale. President Woodrow Wilson requested that aid organizations pool their resources in a massive single campaign to raise funds for soldier-morale programs “in order that the spirit of the country in this matter may be expressed without distinction of race or religious opinion in support of what is in reality a common service.”
The result was a coordinated effort of seven, mostly religious, organizations – the YMCA, YWCA, American Library Association, War Camp Community Service, National Catholic War Council (Knights of Columbus), Jewish Welfare Board, and Salvation Army— who set out to raise over $170 million during a one-week fundraising drive from 11-18 November 1918 called the United War Work Campaign. Mont Amoena formed a fundraising committee and pledged to raise at least $100. The committee was headed by faculty member Jennie Bulla and included students Fannie Corriher, Viola Harris, Virginia Wilkinson, Mabel McAllister, and Elizabeth Biles. All the students and faculty were subscribers. Overall, Cabarrus County citizens subscribed $20,190.00.
The ladies of Mont Amoena knew many young men from Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute (M.P.C.I) who served in the war and did what they could to support the war effort. The previous April they participated in a Liberty Loan fundraiser. The students of both schools played music and the seminary students dressed as Red Cross Nurses. Mount Pleasant alone raised $30,000.
To learn more about the Mont Amoena United War Work campaign leader, Jennie Bulla, see: https://montamoena.org/bulla-jennie-pumeroy/. To learn more about the United War Work Campaign and the role of women and religious organizations, see: http://unitedwarwork.com/.
Poster image, Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002719432/