As World War II came to a haunting end, huge portions of Europe and Asia were reduced to ruins, with populations diminished, farmland demolished and hunger running rampant. For one displaced family, Penelope the cow made all the difference.
While passing out meager rations of powdered milk during the Spanish Civil War, Indiana farmer Dan West was distraught when the supply of milk ran out with children still waiting in line. He realized that they needed “not a cup, but a cow.” Families did not need short-term relief, but a continual source of food and income. Heifer International was born from that simple idea.
During the 1990s, more than half of the Navajo Nation lived below the federal poverty line. Young people were leaving the reservation, resulting in a decreased population and workforce and increased economic instability. Heifer stepped in to help Navajo sheep farmers improve their commercial wool quality and diversify their herds, reviving the tradition that had once permeated the land.