For more than 60 years, Jean Roberts, a native of West Yorkshire, England, wanted to personally say thank you to The Salvation Army in Halifax, N.S. for giving her a glimpse of hope during strict rationing days in post-war England. In September 2009 her dream was fulfilled.
Jean and her husband, Len, intentionally booked a cruise that would take them from Hemel Hempstead, England, to Canada where they would stop in Halifax for a day. After travelling more than 4,000 kilometres, the Roberts’ met with the pastor and church members at The Salvation Army Halifax Citadel. Among the group was a 92-year-old gentleman, Earl Ward, who remembered the local ladies fellowship preparing packages of food items to be sent to The Salvation Army in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, after the Second World War. Jean was able to express her gratitude for the loving gesture that gave her hope during one of the most frightening times in her life.
“Food rations were strict in post-war England,” says 79-year-old Jean. “To deal with extreme food shortages, food rationing was introduced in the United Kingdom early during the Second World War. At the end of the war, rationing continued and was stricter. Bread, potatoes, butter and eggs were a luxury and there were certain foods I didn’t see for a long time.
“I remember the day well when we received the package,” continues Jean. “It was close to Christmas when I and 22 church friends were handed a large parcel from The Salvation Army in Halifax, N.S. Although West Yorkshire towns never experienced bombing on the scale of other parts of the country, as teens we were all victims of food rationing. These were difficult days for our parents as clothes and gas was also rationed. We wept as we each ripped open our individually wrapped food items. Mine was a jar of marmalade. My friend got tea and another got rice.
“It was an emotional event and one that made a great impression on me. The senders didn’t know me, yet their love delivered in a jar of marmalade showed me that someone cared and we were not forgotten.”