From coal to Braille to talking books: 80 years of assisting blind Islanders
Group raises money through bake sales, fudge sales, basket raffles
After 80 years, and almost fading out in the 1990s, Canada's last Ladies Auxiliary for the Canadian National Institute of the Blind is looking for new members once again.
The group came together on P.E.I. with 20 members in 1937. They sought out Islanders who were blind or visually impaired, and raised money to buy them groceries, clothing, and coal.
The current 16 members, aged 70 to 96, are all actively fundraising, but now the money is going towards digital reading technologies.
"All the money that we raise, we pass it on to the CNIB centre, which is able to inform us what they need to distribute to the people of Prince Edward Island," said Marguerite Keating, president of the P.E.I. Ladies Auxiliary of Canadian National Institute of the Blind.
Last group standing
Keating chuckles when asked about what it's like to lead an organization that's been running for 80 years.
"Oh my dear, I can't imagine," she said.
"And the only existing one in Canada. It's hard to believe."
The group raises money through bake sales, fudge sales, basket raffles and in many other ways.
"It's wonderful, in all the membership they think it's just wonderful the work that we're able to do," she said.
In the 1990s the group shrunk down to just six members, but recovered to more than double in size.
Keating said the group is recruiting new members to help raise money to socialize and just have some fun.
"We encourage our members to bring in new members if they possibly can, to encourage them and let them know it's a lovely social afternoon, every second month," she said.
"They'll really, really enjoy it."
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With files from Stephanie Kelly