Community Papers

Making a difference: Catholic Women’s League

Sharon Vaillancourt (right), Luise Ladyman, Shirley Sherwood and LIz Gillespie are just some of the 115 members of the local chapter of the Catholic Women’s League dedicated to helping the community.  - Percy N. Hébert/Western News
Sharon Vaillancourt (right), Luise Ladyman, Shirley Sherwood and LIz Gillespie are just some of the 115 members of the local chapter of the Catholic Women’s League dedicated to helping the community.
— image credit: Percy N. Hébert/Western News

They are 115 strong, ages 16 to 101, with a single purpose: service to the community.

St. Ann’s Parish Counsel chapter of the Catholic Women’s League, who recently marked their 75th anniversary in Penticton, pitch in wherever they can, said president Sharon Vailllancourt.

“Charity and volunteerism, everything we do is for charity,” said Vaillancourt in her second stint as president.

The list of not-for-profit organizations that receive help from the local women’s league is impressive, and includes the Soupateria, South Okanagan Women In Need Society, Canadian Food For Children, St. Vincent De Paul Society.

In addition, every month, the women of CWL put together 190 food hampers and at Christmas they prepare 360 hampers.

Add to that the 50 or so bags of food prepared to hand out at the church, and it is easy to see the impact of the CWL in the community.

“It is amazing,” said Vaillancourt.

Members of the CWL also get out to visit with patients at the hospital and the local retirement homes.

The CWL also helps with the local Birthright program, where expectant mother’s can go for all kinds of support, including how to prepare meals.

“We also helped clean up an old parish house that is now used for Discovery House

The women’s league also helps run Holy Cross School, a middle school.  Students at the school are also encouraged to volunteer on behalf of the CWL or to help them.

As with many volunteer groups, Vaillancourt said the members of the CWL are not getting younger but they have established a program to encourage younger women to join.

“We have a Sweet 16 program where the first year is free,” explained Vaillancourt.

It’s a feeling of fulfillment and being able to help.

“As soon as I call they are there to help.

A good example, said Vaillancourt, was the 75th anniversary which saw many of the women pitch in to help raise funds, decorate and prepare food.

“It’s very satisfying because you know that you’re doing good for the whole community.

“You see a lot of need in the community.

“You see a lot of poverty.”

New members are welcome, for information call 250-492-5938.

 

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