Somenos WI (BC) and Covid 19

Submitted by Ruth Fenner

In this time of limited social interaction and restricted travel - are you finding something to do to help others through the pandemic? It is not enough that we care for ourselves -- we need to reach out to others and help them understand how to care for themselves, and to perhaps provide some other assistance as well. Although our numbers are not large, Somenos Women's Institute have kept active trying to find several ways to aid ourselves and others in our community to cope.


First, we have a member who learned how to handle ZOOM calls, and some of our meetings have been held in that fashion. Although not the same as meeting face to face, this helped to keep us actively thinking about the Women's Institute and the friendship and fellowship it offered to us. We enjoy each others company, and ZOOM gave us the chance to see each other and understand this was one way we could still be "together."

One member, Cathy, has spent many hours at her sewing machine fashioning masks to be used in the community. The variety of fabric colours and patterns she utilized has produced beautiful as well as suitable masks which have been readily moving into the population. We do not sell them but ask, if possible that the recipient make a donation to our bursary fund, This fund, depending on how flush the coffers are, offers financial assistance to 1 or more local graduating high school girls who are setting off for college or university in the coming year.

Also, some of our members have been baking muffins to offer sustenance to those who are working with the homeless in our community. We have done this for the past six months, and have the satisfaction of knowing someone is not going to bed quite so hungry because we have provided something extra for their food supply.

All this brings me to another point: When we were preparing the history book 100 Years of the British Columbia Women's Institute 1909 - 2009 we were dismayed that we could not find any record of the activities of our early members at the time of the 1918-1919 pandemic. Here we are 100 years later, and are we recording what we are doing to help fight COVID 19? Not that I have noticed!

Who will keep track of our times?

So let me add a plea here, to Women's Institute groups from all areas of Canada, to keep a written record of your contributions to fighting this scourge. Please make sure that it is located in more than one place one place, so when needed, a record can be found! It would be wonderful if, at the end of this trial, a nation-wide amalgamation of our pandemic efforts could be circulated, and added to our archives in each province: a permanent record of our effort in this dark period of world history - we need to know and remember what we have done.

I look forward to hearing from members of the British Columbia Women's Institute, and if anyone from other provinces is considering contacting me, .my email address is: landrfenner@shaw.ca

Stay healthy, stay safe,

Ruth Fenner, Provincial Historian, British Columbia Women's Institute