My father was a Shriner, which is described on their website as “a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth.” My father was a very active member in his temple, and eventually became Potentate (A position I always likened to the Grand Poobah of the Water Buffaloes in the Flintstones). One of the Shriner’s prime functions is to support the Shriners Hospitals for Children, which is “a health system of 22 hospitals dedicated to providing pediatric medical care, world-class research and educational opportunities for medical professionals.” I’ve seen the work that these men do to raise funds and I’ve seen the system of hospitals at work. I’ve met patients who have been treated by these hospitals and their families, I’ve been to the orthopaedic hospital in Montreal. These hospitals are an amazing thing.
But the title of this post is “Wonderful Ladies Doing Wonderful Things”, so where do the women come in? Well, the wives, sisters and daughters of these Shriners decided to found their own organization and call themselves The Daughters of the Nile (keeping with the Arabic theme the Shriners already had). These women devote themselves to helping the hospitals. They raise money, they sew, they donate items, and the list goes on. When I was 21 I became a member of the local temple in Ottawa, called Sakina, of which my mother was already a member. We meet once a month and hold regular fundraisers, such a a bazaar in the fall, a Christmas auction in December (where the money raised goes towards a Christmas party for the children in the Montreal Hospital), murder mystery dinners, brunches and more. Today there was a brunch. I’m not able to contribute much time these days as Nathan keeps my hands pretty full, but I bought a ticket ($10 for LOTS of yummy food), and had brunch with my mother and some of the other members. The work that the members put into these events always impresses me. They donate a lot of the food to be served, they work in the kitchen preparing everything, they serve the guests, they clear the tables, they do all the dishes, clean everything up and more. And they do it all for free. Some of the money raised today will go towards covering expenses (which I’m sure were minimal), some will go to cover the temple’s general expenses, but the bulk will end up going to the hospital. I am in awe of what these ladies do and am glad to be a part of it and contribute what I can.
On top of being so amazing at raising funds for a wonderful cause, these ladies are extremely supportive of one another. Last April they even held a baby shower for me and another member, Sarah, who was also pregnant and due 2 weeks after me.
I am grateful to be a part of this organization. More importantly I am grateful for the amazing work they do. Thank you ladies!
The baby shower thrown for Sarah & I, April 2011