FAAFC was founded in November 1939 by women who believed in making a difference in a world that had been ravaged by conflict. Simone Alibert Smith ( see photo below) along with 5 other French women married to Americans, decided that they could send back supplies and funds to France.
The earliest fundraising activity was a Christmas bazaar at The Ritz Hotel in New York City. This activity continued until the 1960s. The members knitted clothing and sold handmade dolls. Founder Simone Smith along with Jacqueline Pahle and Lucie Sandifer who also went onto serve as President of the group are in the photograph below.
FAAFC, first known as “Committee of French-American Wives” was granted a license by President Roosevelt to operate and reported monthly to the US government. Mrs. Smith, the founder, coordinated the war relief efforts with the Quakers (American Friends Service Committee) and the American Red Cross working in Europe through her contact Anne Morgan, daughter of J.P. Morgan and a francophile.
The group sent over 1,000 parcels to French prisoners of war. With the Liberation, thousands more packages were sent to Europe, filled with blankets, clothing, powdered milk and other necessities for distressed French families and orphans. A mobile x-ray machine was bought and sent to Europe. During that time, a number of organizations who wanted to send funds for charitable purposes to France and England used the Committee. It retained a fee of 5%, a welcome source of income. For her remarkable efforts, in 1950, France decorated Mrs. Smith with the insignia of a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
After the war, the group continued to raise money for relief organizations through private efforts on a volunteer basis. The group’s goal is to aid selected organizations and answer appeals, wherever they may come from, in times of emergency.
Today, FAAFC is composed of members from France, America and many other countries who are motivated to make a difference in children’s lives in France and in the United States while strengthening the bonds of friendship between these two nations.