IODE in Manitoba
"Our Mission and Goals Carry On"
In1909, five primary chapters established IODE in Manitoba. The first, Prairie Gateway Chapter, Portage, concentrated on education work involving youth: cadets, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and the Provincial Reformatory for Boys. Prince Alexander of Teck Chapter, Brandon, worked to provide an urgently needed provincial tuberculosis sanitorium, resulting in the 20-bed King Edward Memorial Cottage Sanitarium in Ninette.
Manitoba was the second provincial chapter to receive its charter. By 1916 there were 54 chapters and 2,500 members.
Many Icelandic descendents joined the still active Jon Sigurdsson Chapter, Winnipeg, chartered in 1916. Each June members honour Icelandic Freedom at the Jon Sigurdsson statue located on the Legislature grounds.
Services work by Manitoba members currently exceeds $50,000. Clothing, bedding and personal care items are donated to child and family services, resource centres, women's shelters, nursing homes and schools. DeWinton Chapter, Carberry, holds quilting bees to provide quilts for the needy and families who have been burned out. Members knit toques for the "Look Good Feel Better" program and finger puppets for children's programs. During World War 11, Brandon chapters supplied a washing machine to HMCS Brandon. When the new HMCS Brandon was commissioned recently the city's chapter assisted with contributions to recreation areas. Canadian Flyers Chapter, Winnipeg, has dramatically increased their services work providing "Fresh Start" baskets, camperships and food where most needed.
In 2003, education work totaled $15 ,000 providing supplies and scholarships at all levels of study. One chapter gave 15 scholarships at the university level. Chapters continue their involvement in the Laura Secord Essay Contest, a provincial history contest started in 1927 by the Provincial Chapter for grade 11 students and now presented at the grade 5/6 level. DeWinton Chapter and Golden Boy Chapter, Winnipeg, made colourful book-bags for newborns and included three story-books and a list of reasons for reading to children. In Brandon, Born to Read packages are provided by Diamond Jubilee Chapter to the Baby First public health program. Workers involved with families at risk promote literacy by bringing this package of books on the first visit. To help teens recognize the responsibilities of parenting and as a tool for learning baby care, infant simulators in the Baby Think It Over program are circulated; Diamond Jubilee Chapter partnered with the school division, Public Health, and Child and Family Services.
Members remain committed to citizenship programs. During World War 1, Soldier's Memorial Chapter, obtained a plot of 500 graves with headstones of Canadian granite at Brookside Cemetery. Since then, each June, members attend a Memorial Day service there and place a wreath. One chapter, supported by families and friends, has manned mile 10 at the Manitoba Marathon for the past 25 years.
In late April and throughout May 1997, Manitoba residents withstood the catastrophic "Flood of the Century". Rising waters of the Red River caused evacuation of 24,000 people from their homes. LODE responded. Members of Provincial Chapter of Manitoba quickly mobilized to help persons evacuated on a moment's notice. Within two and one-half hours, a work party in Winnipeg assembled over 300 good-grooming bags for distribution that same day. Contact with business firms resulted in donations of goods and services valued at over $128,000 including good grooming items, toys and 845 cases of diapers worth over $110,000. From across Canada, flood relief donations of over $16,000 came from the National, provincial, primary chapters and members.
To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of LODE in 2000, Provincial Chapter projects included the complete refurbishing of a "teen" room at the Children's Hospital with a computer, stereo system, TV, VCR, videos, tapes, CDs and teen-inspired decor. Benches on the outside deck and a huge, colourful mural provide enjoyment for children and their families. Trees were planted along a drive in the Legislature Grounds and in the Red River Exhibition Grounds. Primary chapter contributions included a history book, "Veterans of Icelandic Descent - World War II", scholarships, centennial awards, hospital equipment, library donations, creation of a helpline bookmark for children, "Teletubby" hats for children undergoing chemotherapy, commemorative shoulder flashes for a police department as well as public displays and celebrations.
The Provincial Chapter of Manitoba disbanded in June 2000. A Coordinating Committee with representatives from the five remaining primary chapters was established to coordinate projects on a province-wide basis. Chapters share information, ideas and fellowship. Today, even with fewer members, the LODE mission and goals carry on.