Manitobans of Icelandic heritage are celebrating these days. One might assume it’s mostly due to the recent success of their country’s soccer team.
If you dig a little deeper, however, you will also find a community proud and joyful over significant philanthropic efforts of a local IODE Chapter that turns 100-years-old in 2016.
IODE Jon Sigurdsson Chapter was founded in 1916 by Icelandic-Canadian women who were doing whatever they could to support their husbands, sons and grandsons overseas during World War I. The Chapter also supported the war effort in the Second World War.
Each year on Nov. 11, the Chapter observes Remembrance Day by laying a wreath at ceremonies taking place at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg.
In 1921, 1990 and 1993, Chapter members took on projects of publishing soldiers’ books, acknowledging veterans of Icelandic descent.
These books are sold out, but the biographical information from them will soon be available online as part of the University of Manitoba Libraries Digital Initiatives. Click here to access the University of Manitoba soldier’s digital database.
In recent times, Chapter members have focused on improving the community by supporting children, education and community services.
The Chapter has awarded more than 500 scholarships for post secondary and music education, and supports a number of service organizations and schools with donations and supplies. Some of the agencies assisted include, Siloam Mission, Villa Rosa, Madison House, Rossbrook House and Mulvey School.
Chapter members also attend Citizenship Court, where they greet new Canadians with hospitality.
The Chapter was awarded the Mayor’s Volunteer Service award in 2010 and the Mayor’s Community Service Award in May 2016.
Some people say organizations and businesses have a lifespan like humans, but at 100 the IODE Jon Sigurdsson Chapter has not slowed down. We have 47 members, who meet eight times per year, the second Saturday of the month. In May and September we fund raise by having bake sales as well as bridge and whist events.
For our Centennial Celebration in 2016, the Chapter donated $10,000 to the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation for the adaptive bicycle program for children with special needs. See previous article on CNC: Having fun while doing good
In May, the Chapter opened a Centennial exhibit called Then and Now in collaboration with the New Icelandic Heritage Museum in Gimli showcasing the history of the Chapter in two display windows. The exhibit will be running until the end of August and is located outside of the Museum and is free of charge.
Another free of charge exhibit about the Chapter’s work opened on June 16 at the University of Manitoba in the Icelandic Room of the Elizabeth Dafoe Library and will run until August 19.
Our members also organize and take part in cultural events such as, Folklorama, Gimli’s Icelandic Festival, and the Icelandic Independence Day on June 17 at the Legislative grounds.
We welcome new members and if you are interested in joining the Chapter, click here for more information and photos on our Facebook page, or you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
IODE Canada is a national women’s charitable and patriotic organization. Women of all ages, from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, meet in local chapters for fun, friendship and community volunteerism. Each IODE chapter has the independence to choose and support projects in their own community.