Methodists in 1906 “Let them eat apples”
Vera Cantley’s column “Recalling the Past” in the Cuba Free Press provided the information below, which was based on a 1906 Cuba Review article that was copied from the St. Louis Globe Democrat. Now, we are wringing the last bit of news from the information.
Viva Cuba’s Apple mural on W. Washington reflects the importance of the apple industry in the early 1900s. Cuba’s apple cannery used the apple to provide all manner of apple products. Apples were also shipped in barrels throughout the country. The information below tells of one slice of Cuba’s history when apples were used to feed the needy.
In 1906, Rev. Dr. C.B. Carlos of the St. Louis Methodist Church District came to Cuba to address the local Methodists for two Sundays. During his time in Cuba, he happened to spy large piles of apples that had been left unharvested on the ground. Being of the “waste not, want not” state of mind, he preached on the text “Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.” He told the congregation that he could make 1000 worthy people happy with a carload of apples.
Local I.C. Walker decided to match good words to deed and became enthusiastic about the project. He soon gathered 670 bushels of Cuba apples. Rev. Carlos was contacted, and he, in turn, contacted the Frisco Railroad about transportation. When Frisco officials heard about the project, they offered to ship the apples without charge, and the apples were eventually distributed to the needy.
Even though there had been apples for the needy, the apple industry was also booming. The Cuba Review reported that up to October 22, 5,654 apples had been shipped by barrel, as well an one carload of bulk apples.
Today, the apple industry in Cuba has declined, but McGinnis Wood Products on Rt. 66 produces barrels that are used not just in the U.S. but also throughout the world.
However, the needy are still with us, and the Cuba Ministerial Alliance helps provide the food pantry to serve them. It is located in the Cuba City Hall building on Smith Street. This is a good time of year for all us to contribute and continue the generous tradition of past Cubans. They probably wouldn’t mind a bushel of good apples either.