100 Years of the Italian Welfare League

The Italian Welfare League traces its beginnings to the resettlement work of the American Red Cross’s Italian Committee at the end of the First World War. At the time, thousands of Italians had just returned to their American homes after having fought in the Italian Army during the war. The Committee’s task was to help resettle these riservisti and find them civilian jobs and lodgings. They also provided them with medical care, groceries and clothing. In the course of these duties, the Committee members became aware of how difficult life was in all too many of the Italian neighborhoods of New York City. They discovered that untold thousands of people struggled with endless poverty, family hardship, language barriers and a lack of education. Clearly, the temporary emergency work of the Red Cross was not enough. 

Somehow, some way a permanent organization would have to come into existence – one fully dedicated to the Italian communities of

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