The Prince Edward District Women’s Institute has been an institution in Prince Edward County since 1908. We are a member of the Trent Valley Area, Eastern Region.
Prince Edward has always been very active in the “County” with education, fundraising, community efforts and socialization.
Some of our ROSE Programs have been LYME Disease Education, Wine Jelly Making, Fire Safety, Apple Butter Making, Alzheimer’s and Mental Health, and our latest, Living off the Grid, where one of our members opened her very modern home, with all amenities, to show us how “living off the grid” is very attainable and comfortable.
We made coffee filter roses and we make as well as fill, carryall bags with crayons and colouring books, a teddy bear with its own blanket and one for the child and a storybook. We bring these for the hospital emergency room to be distributed to youngsters to give them comfort when they come in, most often unprepared. We also donate large stuffed bears for older patients who need comforting. Every year, we sponsor a Scholarship of $1,000 for a high school student going to post-secondary education; the candidate must write an essay on a given topic and must meet established criteria. We scored 12 applicants this year with the topic, “What can we do as individuals do in our daily lives to help preserve our environment?”
Many years ago, WI members realized there was a need for affordable accessible transportation for seniors as well as the disabled. That was the birth of our infamous Art & Craft Sale. This year would have been our 37th Annual.
In June 2007, a new bus, fully accessible, with the WI logo, was unveiled. Ridership has increased year after year and this past month a full-time service with a dedicated schedule has come to pass. The PEDWI has donated over $120,000 so far, with more pledged for the coming years. This all with proceeds from the Art & Craft Sale, which we hope will again be held on July 29, 2021.
In 2019, as a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the FWIO and the FWIC, the District donated $1,000 to both organizations as well as another $13,000 to other groups in the County.
This year, on FEB 19, 2020, WI DAY, we donated $10,000 to the PEC Library Expansion and their 6 branches and $10,000 to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital, Back the Build.
Women’s Institute Branches and members have tried to mitigate the impact by making phone calls, sending e-mails and using Zoom meetings and e-blasts to share news and information. Some branches have had outdoor gatherings where everyone wore a mask and kept physically distanced and no food was served.
Many members kept busy and helped the community by sewing masks, hospital gowns, and bags for face shields and crocheting ear savers. Mostly, WI members have tried to help our community stay safe and healthy by setting good examples in following the guidelines and reaching out to those who need some friendship.
The PEDWI is a very active organization in the Prince Edward Community and we can’t wait to get “back to normal”.
Submitted by Wilma de Wolde, President, PEDWI, and Evelyn Peck, Past President, FWIO