Ongoing charity, a sense of belonging, and making a difference for people when it matters most is the motivation behind the Order of the Eastern Star.
The lakecity’s Princess Pine Chapter 67 marked its 60th anniversary in 2010 and is one of 54 Eastern Star chapters active in the B.C. and Yukon Grand Chapter.
Order of the Eastern Star has been in existence since the 1800s and is the largest international fraternal organization in the world that admits both men and women as members. Men must be Master Masons and women must be related to a Freemason.
In 1950 a group of women and men got together to form a chapter in Williams Lake. At the suggestion of Marie Lloyd, they settled on the name Prince’s Pine, after the plant that grows in shady woods, especially in pine forests from New Brunswick to B.C. and south to Georgia, Mexico and California.
The idea was that the chapter would be a tough, leathery entity like the leaves of the Prince’s Pine plant but with a spot of delicate beauty like the flowers.
Unfortunately when the charter was received, it read Princess Pine, which remains the chapter’s name to this day.
Princess Pine started with about 22 members and today has about 75 members including charter members Margaret Lloyd, Iris Blair and Janet Gardner. They also have several active members living in 100 Mile House, Timothy Lake and Horsefly.
The chapter meets once a month at the Masonic Hall on Oliver Street.
Members have also been meeting weekly since 1960 to make cancer dressings. The dressings are provided free of charge to cancer patients upon request of a doctor or district health nurse.
In 2006 Princess Pine put together a cook book called Cooking With The Stars featuring their favourite recipes.
The books sell for $10 each and proceeds are used to purchase the gauze to make the cancer dressings.
Hosting a fall bazaar, bake sale, raffle and tea has been a tradition for the chapter since the beginning and is the main fundraiser of the year.
Proceeds from these events have enabled the chapter to help support local charities such as Hough Memorial, Cariboo Hospital Foundation, Central Cariboo Hospice and Palliative Care, Brain Injury Society, local Salvation Army and SPCA.
Since 1962 Princess Pine has also been collecting cancelled stamps.
Each year more than 50 pounds of cancelled stamps have been collected from local businesses and individuals, adding to the more than $12,000 collected by Eastern Star members throughout B.C. and Yukon.
Proceeds from stamp sales help to support Grand Chapter Charities such as the Elizabeth Bentley Scholarships; ESTARL Bursary and Worthy Grand Matron’s Project.
Hope Humm spearheads the cancelled stamp program and can be reached at 250-392-4648.
In 1961 Princess Pine started and continues to maintain a quiet room at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.