Penticton's IODE ladies pose for a group photo in this July 1, 2020 file photo.

Rather than say how sad and sorry we are to see Penticton’s IODE chapter close, we will dedicate this space to celebrating the amazing work that’s been done since 1927.

The International Order of Daughters of the Empire held its final official meeting on June 30 when eight of the 13 members of the Diamond Jubilee Chapter met to approve a final round of donations totalling $15,500.

There are literally hundreds of Penticton residents who, over the years, received an IODE scholarship and bursary.

It’s estimated that $44,000 worth of scholarships was donated to Okanagan College and another $37,000 to high school scholarships.

Other charities which benefitted from their hard work were the Christmas hamper program, brain injury groups, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Hope Air, Penticton Retirement Centre, the SS Sicamous, Village by the Station, Cleland Theatre and Penticton Regional Hospital.

Much of their money was raised through its wonderful Thrift Store which, for the past 26 years, has been located in the 400 block of Main Street.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 was the final blow as the store was forced to close during the early days of the pandemic.

“I think probably had it not been for our ages, we might have been able to carry on and start up again,” said Denise Kadatz, who noted most of the remaining members are at least 80, including three who are in their 90s.

In the peak years, there were 50 active members.

The IODE is like many of the service groups in Canada in that young people don’t have the same interest in joining a volunteer group that they did 50 years ago.

We can criticize a younger generation, but times are much different. Today’s young people are not able to purchase and pay off a house in 25 years on a factory worker’s wage and with only one spouse working outside of the house.

It’s a great thing that high schools are encouraging young people to get a taste of volunteering. The goal is that they continue doing community service in their adult years.

The fact the Diamond Jubilee chapter was able to operate for 93 years is incredible.

The IODE calling it quits after 93 years in Penticton is indeed the end of an era — an era that will always be fondly remembered in our community.

Thank you, ladies!