IODE final eight

Members of the IODE Diamond Jubilee Chapter met Tuesday for their final meeting before winding up operations after 93 years. From left: Anita Gregory, Denise Kadatz, Kristine Unrau, Bette Snowdon, Barbara Campbell, Hazel Meadows, Gladys Alexander and Mabel Carter

After raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the betterment of Penticton over the past nine decades, age has finally caught up with a local women’s charity group.

Eight members of the IODE Diamond Jubilee Chapter met Tuesday to approve a final round of donations worth $15,500 as their last act of business.

“We just don’t have the people to carry on,” said Denise Kadatz, a three-time president of the chapter, whose final role was overseeing the IODE Thrift Shop, which was the source of the group’s money.

The shop was the first of its kind in Penticton when it first opened in 1957 near where City Hall now stands, then called the 400 block of Main Street home for the past 26 years – until the pandemic, that is.

Like many other businesses, the shop was forced to close due to health regulations. But faced with a lack of revenue and an aging, shrinking base of 13 members and 20 volunteers, IODE chapter members decided to simply wind up operations.

“I think probably, had it not been for our ages, we might have been able to carry on and start up again,” said Kadatz, who noted three members are in their 90s and “a bunch” are in their 80s.

They can at least walk away knowing they’re group improved an untold number of lives in the community.

Since it was founded in 1927, the Diamond Jubilee Chapter – so named to honour Canada’s diamond anniversary – has focused its giving on three areas: education, services and citizenship.

The group, which once had upwards of 50 members, estimates it has handed out $37,000 worth of high school scholarships and $44,000 worth of Okanagan College scholarships, plus contributed $40,000 to the Penticton library.

Another $32,000 was given to Christmas hamper programs, $26,000 to the Boys and Girls Club, $42,000 to brain injury groups and $12,000 to Hope Air.

IDOE has also given to the Penticton Retirement Centre, Penticton Regional Hospital, SS Sicamous, Cleland Theatre and Village by the Station, among many other causes.

Originally known as Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, the larger group is a national women's charitable organization that was founded in 1900 to promote patriotism, loyalty and service to others

Kelowna’s IODE chapter closed its doors in May for the same reason as the Penticton group.