7,000 COULD LIVE ON SUM ASTOR BABY REQUIRES

By Dorothy Day

New York Call Sunday, February 4, 1917, page 7

“I could support the 7,000 children we have on our books now for a whole year on the $85,000 that is used to give the Astor baby the “bare necessities of life,” said J. W. Hopkins, executive secretary for the Child Welfare board, in an interview with a reporter for The Call yesterday afternoon. “And by supporting them I mean paying for the food, clothing, sundries and the child’s share of rent, fuel and light.

“We allow 27 cents a day for food, which amounts to $39.60 a year. Two dollars a month for clothing, which is all that the average baby needs, amounts to $24 a year. Then, when you count in the rent and fuel and light, you’ll find that about $121.33 will support the average child. We’re not saying just how that amount will support them, but at least it will provide them with necessities.

“For the year 1917 alone we have on our books the names of 7,000 children that are supported by us. The probability is that we’ll have twice that number before the end of the year. These children that we are caring for are generally those of families that have been deprived of their chief wage earner. The associated charities are caring for a large number, and even then there must be some thousands that are being overlooked.”

“What about fur robes and rollymobiles and such things?” he was asked.

“The child of the working man gets along without such things,” he said. “We have all that we can do to furnish them with food and a roof. If they get any toys, it is at Christmas, when the station houses and other benevolent people give them out. We allow just as much for the maintenance of the child, and then we have to send out visitors to show the mothers what to buy. They can’t afford Borden’s certified milk at 16 cents a bottle. They get the 8 cent milk at the city stations. And as for doctors’ bills – we don’t consider them at all. Any baby in New York can get care at the dispensaries.”