From corporations, firms, labor unions, religious societies, individuals, rich and poor, money flowed. Even the children in the schools gave their pennies. Every grade of society, every branch of trade and commerce seemed inspired by a spirit of emulation in giving.
The United States Government at once voted a contribution of $1,000,000, and government supplies were rushed from every post in the West.
The $1,000,000 government gift, which formed the nucleus of the relief fund, was doubled on Saturday by a resolution appropriating another, and a vote was taken on Monday to increase this sum to $1,500,000, making a total government contribution of $2,500,000. This was largely expended in supplies of absolute necessaries, furnished from the stores of the War Department, and those first sent being five carloads of army medical supplies from St. Louis. A cargo of evaporated cream was also sent to use in the care of little children, while the Red Cross Society shipped a carload of eggs from Chicago. Dr. Edward Devine, special Red Cross agent in San Francisco, was appointed to distribute these supplies.
Trainloads of other supplies were dispatched in all haste from various points in the West and East, carrying provisions of all kinds, tents, cots, clothing, bedding and a great variety of other articles. A special train of twenty-six cars was dispatched from Portland, Oregon, on Thursday night, conveying ten doctors, twenty trained nurses and 800,000 pounds of provisions. Chicago sent meat. Minneapolis sent flour, and, in fact, every part of the country moved in the greatest haste for the relief of the stricken city.
There was urgent need of haste. On Friday, while the flames were still making their way onward, General Funston telegraphed: “Famine seems inevitable.” The people of the country took a more hopeful view of it, and by Saturday night the spectre of famine was definitely driven from the field and food for all the fugitives was within reach.
On all sides the people were awake and doing. In all the great cities agencies to receive contributions were opened, and many of the newspapers undertook the task of collecting and forwarding supplies. The smaller towns were equally alert in furnishing their quota to the good work, and from countryside and village contributions were forwarded until the fund accumulated to an unprecedented amount. Collections were made in factories, in stores, in offices, in the public schools; cash boxes or globes stood in all frequented places and were rapidly filled with bank notes; theatrical and musical entertainments were given for the benefit of the earthquake sufferers; never had there been such an awakening. As an instance of the spirit displayed, one man came running into a banking house and threw a thousand dollar bill on the counter.