Over 30 years of running a used newspaper collection program, the local Knights of Pythias raised more than $300,000 to support a variety of organizations and charities. That’s a mountain of newspaper! In fact, the Knights of Pythias Penticton Lodge collected 7,000 metric tonnes of newsprint – that’s the equivalent of 3,500 cars. And, if stacked would reach well into outer space!
“It took a lot of man power,” says Marv Wilson, Secretary of the Penticton Lodge when describing the 24/7 maintenance of their 120 collection bins around town. But the mountain of work was well worth the effort. It was an added joy when youth organizations such as school field hockey teams and high school bands pitched in to help with the collection.
The Knights of Pythias support a wide range of charities, including those that they feel connected to personally, such as the Dragonfly Pond Family Society. This Society is incredibly appreciative of the Lodge’s consistent support, adding that their funds often go towards some of their most costly programming. “These also happen to be some of the best for the kids!” adds Tricia Hernes from Dragonfly Pond.
For example, during the pandemic, the Society was able to create and offer outdoor-based programming for families. “Without the help of the Knights, our funding would have fallen short as these activities were more costly than our previous summers.” As always, the Knights were pleased to be able to help Dragonfly. “We’re really proud of this one,” says Marv.
The OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre has also been consistently supported through regular donations from the Knights of Pythias. “Confirming time and time again their dedication to making an impact on children’s lives,” says an appreciative Megan Windeler of the OSNS.
In particular, the Lodge’s donations help OSNS maintain and replace toys for the 1,600 children that use their Centre over the course of a year. Just a few years ago, the Knights pitched in to replace a popular rocking horse. “Thanks to the generous donation from the Knights of Pythias, the Centre was able to order a replacement steed that is still in use today.”
Since their establishment in 1912, the Penticton Lodge has lived up to their order’s distinguishing principles of friendship, charity, and benevolence. Through the years, their membership has declined and they have handed off their collection program to another organization, but their community leadership and support remains steadfast.
Marv, who has been a Knights of Pythias member for 75 years, adds that their core group continues to aid charities through direct donations as well as through the creation of the Knights of Pythias Lodge #49 Legacy Fund with the Community Foundation.
“With gratitude, we celebrate this 20 years of granting through the Knights of Pythias Lodge #49 Legacy Fund, and for the longstanding partnership we have formed with this remarkable group,” says Yuki Ihara, Community Foundation Donor Services. “While their Lodge is now down to eight members, the size of their hearts remains large – I’d say around 7,000 metric tonnes.”