AWI War Effort

World War Two:
At the 1939 convention, the AWI decided to raise money for an Emergency War Fund. By 1941, the AWI was able to present the Receiver General of Canada with $2000 to purchase physiotherapy equipment for Canadian military hospitals. Other moneys were made available to the Navy Fund and the Queen’s Canadian Fund for air-raid victims.

The AWI also re-organized its own structure so that it could better focus on the war. It reduced the number of Convenor standing committees to five, including a Convenor of War Work. WI branches not only contributed to war funds, they purchased War Bonds and Savings Certificates, they sent parcels of garden seeds overseas, as well as food and tons of clothing through the Red Cross. “From the Emergency War Fund, 2,500 jumbo knit sweaters were brought for survivors of torpedoed and shipwrecked vessels. Thousands of ditty bags and hundreds of leather, fur and felt jerkins were sent to the Merchant Seamen. Knitted articles and quilts were made by the thousands. Large contributions were made to the Jam Fund for British children” (Story, 26).

In 1943, the AWI voluntarily cancelled its convention in order to help government save money for the war effort. Individual WI members sent their Christmas money to England; over $1000 was collected in a few weeks to raise the morale of women and children in bombed out cities and towns. The money was sent to WI headquarters in London for distribution and was continued for several years.

Wood, Cornelia. The Story of the Alberta Women’s Institute, 1909-1955 n.p. 1955.

History Supplement of the Alberta Women’s Institute, 1956-1975. n.p., 1975.