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THE WOMEN'S WAR WORKERS OF THE ERICKSON AND DISTRICT RED CROSS
Compiled from the minutes as entered into their journal dated March 2nd, 1942 to November II, 1947:
The meetings were held in the Erickson Municipal Hall with one regular meeting held on the 1st Tuesday, and a quilting meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of the same month, with Mrs. R.J. McKenzie as President. The reports from the quilt convenor, Refugee knitting, Refugee sewing, and Red Cross sewing convenors were given at each meeting. The lunch committee was in charge of all social events that the ladies organized, serving at teas, concerts, bonspiels and auction sales. One entry, lunches at the bonspiel - January 16th to the 27th, showed the grand total of $58.10. The established price for the lunch was: pie and coffee - 1511:, or sandwich and coffee - 2011:. In March, two cushions were donated and the raffled proceeds were to go to the Russian Fund. It was agreed at this meeting to buy braces to go with the little boys' trousers that had been sewn for the refugee children. Large pieces of fur were requested by the R.C.N. V .R. for making fur jackets for the sailors, no fox fur, matted fur or small pieces would be accepted. Bundles for Britain Ditty Bags for the Navy League and "V for Victory" bundles were packed.
1943 was an excellent year as reported by the Erickson and District Red Cross at their annual meeting. $2,726.44 was sent to the Red Cross Headquarters in Winnipeg, $89.50 to the Aid to Russia Fund and $117.90 was sent to the Navy League for Ditty Bags.
Dr. E.J. Rutledge was named honorary president of the branch and officers elected were President: R.J. McKenzie, 1st Vice-President: Rev. C.A. Larson, 2nd Vice-President: Rev. A. Sevig, Treasurer: L. W. Miller and Secretary and War Work Convenor: Mrs. Gordon Bruce. The Ladies' War Workers Committee elected were President - Viola Miller, other members being Gladys Cummings, Edith Hanson, Sadie Hanson, Mary Hall, Rose Oleniuk, Mabel Neilson, Marion McKenzie and Annie Halvarson. Their report in 1943 showed 525 ar ticles of hospital sewing, 340 articles of knitting, 196 pieces of refugee sewing, 77 pieces of refugee knitting, 86 quilts, 3 baby quilts and 1 blanket accounted for and sent. It was decided to serve lunch at the quilting bee, each bringing their own coffee and sugar, using their own ration coupons. It was reported that 126 lbs., 14 oz. of knitting wool was out, being knitted up into socks, mitts, scarfs, vests, gloves, etc. Mrs. Gusdal reported at the meeting that the Dream Boat quilt would soon be ready for quilting. Mrs. Newman Hall, having made the quilt top, expressed a wish to have it quilted at her home. It was noted in the minutes that lunch slips were sent out to all for teas, etc. rather than phoning, which would in dicate that there were very few phones in the area. It was also brought to the attention of the members that a very good blanket could be purchased for $2.75 for refugee relief.
Lunch was served at John Carlson's Sale on October 5, 1943 and the net proceeds were $25.08.
At this point in time, the Dream Boat quilt was completed. A convenor was appointed, being responsible for making and distributing tickets for the raffle, to take place at Hillstrand's building. The ladies planned an exciting afternoon of filling Ditty Bags for the Navy League and serving tea. However, this grand event had to be cancelled having met with difficulty in securing workers. So it seemed that the Dream Boat quilt had to be raffled at another date, set for November 6th, 1943.
At the opening of the meeting in November a special hymn was sung in memory of the late Mrs. H. Miller, who had been a faithful worker through the years of World War I, the depression year, when the relief society was active and her later years during World War II. Miss Broadfoot, the public health nurse for this area, attended the meeting, approaching the members about having a "brush up" course in health. The matter was talked about, material on the subject sent for, but it was not mentioned or brought up again at any meeting.
In 1944, the secretary recorded that they received an appeal for help for Greek relief, for used clothes of all kinds, and need in England for small mats for children to sit on, stuffed toys and toys of any kind, stockings and combs. That summer a motion was made and carried that lunches be served at the Hillstrand building every Saturday night, eight women to work in each group. It is interesting to note that the work of the Women's War Workers didn't close down for the summer months during the war, as was the common practice at the time of compiling this report. It seems that the months of July and August were busy months with the unending meetings, teas, quiltings, sewing, knitting, packing boxes and bales for overseas. There was never an idle moment for these ambitious women. A letter received from Red Cross headquarters stressed an urgent need for more knitted and sewn articles and appealed to every woman to do more in the coming year. The following list from the 1944 Annual report of articles completed and shipped were: 89 quilts, 11 baby quilts, 246 articles for armed forces, 57 articles for civilian relief, and 205 sewn ar ticles. The last event for the year had the ladies serving lunch in the basement of the Scandia Hall on the Poultry Pool packing day with net proceeds of $16.27.
In 1945, the journal records that the ladies agreed to serve at the curling rink during the winter season. The prices for the lunches had been set of 2011:, but as the minutes state, if a smaller lunch was served 1511: could be charged. The sewing convenor reported that pyjamas and comfort bags were on hand. A letter from Fairfield woollen mills stated that blankets could now be made for the sum of $2.25 and $2.75. The Municipal Council interviewed the group about using the Municipal Hall for teas during the summer and permission was granted. It was suggested that an opening should be cut through the partition to the kitchen. It was decided at this time that the storeroom needed cleaning up on May 8th at 2 p.m. and five ladies volunteered to do this mountainous job. You must remember that all the Red Cross articles were brought to this station from all the outlying areas. New articles that had been sewn and knit, quilts that had been made, used clothes for refugee relief would come in by the box full and these things had to be sorted, checked for