Jackie Coogan (1914-1984) was an American actor who was best known for his role as Uncle Fester in the 1960's US television series The Addams Family. At a very young age Coogan became personally involved with the collection of vital supplies for the survivors of the genocide on behalf of the Near East Relief.
In 1921, at the age of 6, Coogan became one of the first child stars after playing alongside Charlie Chaplin in the 1921 silent comedy The Kid. In that same year, he appeared in the July issue of The New Near East magazine (pictured above) where he was seen holding a bundle of clothing. The article describes how Coogan showed concern for the "...million and half people in the Caucasus [who] have no clothes for next winter."
Boy Scouts and child actor Jackie Coogan helping to fill a "million-dollar milk ship" for the Near East Relief. c. 1924.
Coogan went on to influence many throughout the US to donate to the orphans suffering as a result of the genocide in Ottoman Turkey. In 1922, the Mark Strand Theater in Brooklyn, NY screened the silent comedy drama Trouble starring Jackie Coogan. The price of admission was a bundle of clothing and 3,500 bundles were raised for the Near East Relief.
By 1924, Coogan was touring the US where he was received with an ovation in towns he visited. His campaign was often dubbed the Children's Crusade and the goal was to also collect a shipload of food for the orphans in the Near East. With the help of the Boy Scouts of America, cans of milk were collected, packed and delivered to train stations throughout the US. Jackie Coogan's milk train made its way to train stations where he was greeted by Boy Scouts. He managed to raise millions of dollars (in today's terms) of relief material which he personally delivered in Athens, not before stopping off in Rome where he received the blessing of the reigning Pontiff, Pius XI. Coogan was decorated by the Hellenic Government with the Silver Cross of the Order of St. George, given in recognition of his humanitarian work.