Trent Ernst, Editor
The Ladies Auxiliary is getting a new stove, thanks to a $5000 grant from the Community Forest
Member Grace Walsh says they haven’t picked out a stove yet, but the new stove will probably be an industrial stove with convection so they can do more with it than their current one, especially considering their second stove is starting to act up now, too.
“We are so grateful that we got this grant,” says Walsh.
The Ladies Auxiliary is an arm of the Royal Canadian Legion. They operate a kitchen out of the basement of the Tumbler Ridge Legion, and have been operating in town since before there was a town. Marg Wheeler says she moved here in 1982, and the group was active even then. “They were doing lunches and things,” she says. “They had a lot of women back then, because they were bored and nothing to do.”
Wheeler has been with the Ladies Auxiliary only slightly longer than the stove has, she says, as the Legion Hall was built in 1983, and the stove has been there since the beginning, as far as she can remember.
During the 80s and into the 90s, the Ladies Auxiliary did a lot of catering for the parties around town, raising money to support the Legion in what they do, as well as to help out the community. Wheeler says there were some weeks when they would cater parties for both mines. “We would sometimes do the Quintette and Bullmoose Christmas Parties,” she says. “One weekend was one, next week was the other. These were big parties. We used to do 450 for the Quintette on the Saturday night.”
Wheeler says the Ladies Auxiliary has always been an active group, though these days they aren’t catering such big events. Still, they will do lunches for funerals, benefits for people who need to raise money for fundraisers, and other charitable causes. “People come to us to ask us to cater a memorial service and stuff,” says Wheeler. “We don’t ask for money, but if they want to donate, that’s fine. We help people in need. We still do catering, too.”
But most of the money they’ve raised over the years has gone back into the community, and so when the first stove broke, it became such an issue.
Walsh said she spoke to the District grant writer, Jerrilyn Schembri, and asked her if there was anything out there for grant. “She came back to me and said ‘I think I can do something for you’. She did an excellent job, worded it properly, and all that.”
The Ladies’ Auxiliary is working with Shop Easy owner Darryl Krakowka to find a decent stove. Krakowka, says Walsh, has contacts in the industry, and should be able to find one that will meet their needs. “He’s been such a big help,” she says. “Everybody has. We’ve had so much support from the Legion, and from the community.”
While they haven’t picked out a stove just yet, they say the new stove won’t be anything fancy. “As long as we can cook a meal and give the money back to the people in need, it’s good. We just want something plain and simple.
The Ladies Auxiliary has 11 members in Tumbler Ridge currently, most of whom are 65 and older. They hope to have the new stove here by March.