Fundraising, Fundraising, and More Fundraising
Fundraising efforts to support the war effort began immediately. On September 8 – two days before Canada had even declared war – the Knights of Pythias held an emergency meeting to determine their policy for supporting the dependents of the men who were enlisting. Within a week of Canada’s declaration, the International Order of Daughters of the Empire (IODE) and the Red Cross Society were both established.
By the middle of 1940, there were no fewer than ten established organisations raising funds for various war-related causes. In any given week, the Legion or Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary might host a tag day; the Red Cross societies (there were at least two – Creston and Wynndel) would hold a whist drive; the IODE would hold a rummage sale; the two Women’s Institutes or the Lions or the Pythian Sisters might have a dance, a dinner, or a garden party.
Anything and everything that could be raffled off was. Every meeting of the Red Cross ended with a raffle for some household item donated by one of the members – tea cozies, cream and sugar sets, lamps. The Grand Theatre regularly drew raffle prizes at the end of its films. Other raffles featured a load of alfalfa, vehicle license plates, or half a pig (we assume that was butchered).
That’s all in addition to the ongoing campaigns for Victory Loans and War Savings stamps, bonds and certificates. There were also many impromptu fundraising associations: The “Dorothys of Canada,” under whose auspices all the girls named Dorothy in the country raised funds to buy a Spitfire. “Bundles for Britain” collected for boxes of supplies to be sent to the UK for relief from the devastation of aerial bombings. Ten cents of every dollar spent on Saturday, September 28, 1940 in all the stores advertising in that week’s issue of the Creston Review (and that was most of the stores in Creston) went directly to the Red Cross.
Key to this success was the emphasis that these efforts would support the local men and women in uniform. Your dollars now would save their lives, provide their comfort, shorten the war – and, as the war and casualty lists lengthened and the tone of the campaigns became increasingly urgent, would help ensure that those who had fallen had not died in vain.