The Ladies Auxiliary of Branch 22 of the Royal Canadian Legion has just concluded another monthly meeting. Their priority has always been to assist the branch in their work.
They received their charter on March 2, 1927 and were the first Auxiliary to be formed in Canada.
Pat Smith has been a member for 52 years. She explained how catering has been one of the Auxiliary’s main sources of income over the years.
One of the first events they catered was a skating carnival at Charlie Wharton’s rink (now part of Memorial Park).
Today the auxiliary members cater weddings, anniversaries and funeral teas.
Other successful fundraisers are pie night, with pieces of pie and other desserts being sold every second Friday of the month, during the branch’s baron of beef night and the pancake breakfast held the first Saturday of every month.
Smith said one of the most worthwhile projects these ladies have ever done has been the purchasing and placement of metal crosses on the local graves of veterans, whose families request it and give a donation.
Close to 400 crosses have been placed thus far.
The ladies also put a poppy on each cross for Remembrance Day, a daffodil for Easter and help light candles at each of these graves for VE day.
Smith says of her years of service,
“I’ve enjoyed the work.”
Doreen Bargholz has looked after the 50/50 draw for 24 years.
Drawn at the Branch every Saturday, it funds special donations to many different foundations such as the Transition House, Women in Need, Hospice and the local food bank. Three bursaries are also given out to Summerland graduates each year from the proceeds.
“I feel good about it because we are helping someone else,” she said.
Elsie Antonovitch has been waiting tables, washing dishes, selling tickets, baking and marching for 52 years.
“I’ve enjoyed it and have found it very rewarding,” she said.
At one time a person had to be related to a veteran to join the Auxiliary.
That is no longer the case.
“I did not have anyone in my family who was involved in the wars, but I’ve always had respect for the veterans and what they’ve done for us,” said First Vice President Joyce Wood.
The Auxiliary is always in need of new members. President Julia Law said,
“Our membership is getting older and we can’t do as much as we use to do. We really do need some young blood.”
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