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    World War II

    200 196 Children's Home of Poughkeepsie

    World War II caused considerable economic adversity for the Children’s Home, with state aid not being sufficient to support the services the Home provided. It was essential to garner generous donations from businesses, community members, and other non-profit organizations. The social stigma attached to welfare, coupled with the second class status held by women made the work of the female dominated staff all the more difficult. World War II brought rising costs, reduced staff, and rationed food.

    On November 4, 1945, the Children’s Home made a public appeal for financial aid for the first time in 25 years, asking for at least $5,000 in donations as well as an increased endowment. It appeared that the Children’s Home was largely unaffected from the wartime economic recovery. The Home raised its own chickens and lambs. Some girls had summer jobs in factories; others were paid to work in the nursery. In addition to caring for their rooms, children had weekly chores including “tidying the Home, making salads, rinsing dishes, working in the two-acre garden, or canning vegetables.” After school they could make a snack and were encouraged to invite friends to dinner. Older girls went to dances at the Y or invited beaus to the Home. If a young man asked a girl out, he was to meet Miss Garrison first. The boys, who were younger, had a playroom with a fort, toys, and model airplanes. Outside, there was a sandbox, swings, and a fireplace for picnics. Some boys attended a weekly Junior Achievement workshop.