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216   DAYS OF PREPARATION

involved in such an exhaustive enquiry. Many requests for information came from aspirants for literary fame, or from newspaper men and women in search of copy with regard to work in which they rightly judged the public to be deeply interested. And such information the Society gladly afforded.

Rarely did a day pass without bringing an offer of a song, play or poem, to be sold or performed for the Red Cross. Sometimes the offer was nothing more than an attempt to use the Red Cross for advertising purposes; sometimes it was a genuine offer of service; and the task of discrimination needed both a lawyer and a literary critic. Luckily, the Red Cross could always rely upon voluntary service in every line of life, and could call upon experts to give advice and assistance in times of perplexity.

The value of expert advice in Red Cross work on such matters as the preparation of surgical supplies and hospital garments was obvious, but it was equally necessary to appeal to motor experts in the matter of ambulances and lorries; to an expert in textiles for advice as to the right price and the best moment at which to purchase the immense quantities of garments and material necessary for the Society's work; to an advertising agent to make known the Society's needs as well as its work; to professors of botany to survey the supply of sphagnum moss suitable for dressings; or to photographers to prepare films and slides illustrating the Society's work.

The preparation of canned fruits, vegetables and soups called out the energy of another set of workers; and the establishment of a Red Cross Fruit Kitchen not only standardized the preparation of this class of food for Red Cross workers, but provided our wounded men with a most acceptable addition to their hospital rations.

The organization of the work throughout the country was necessarily an important item in the activities of the Central Office. In four years, as we have seen, some twelve hundred chartered branches of the Red Cross


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