Glebe-St. James women WIG out!

Some members of the Glebe-St. James church Women’s Intergenerational Group (WIG) last year, preparing socks and a Toblerone for those in need. From left, Susan Palmai, Hilda Sabadash, Mary Ahearn, Kim Lewis, Barb Coyle and Margo Williams.   Photo: Betty Taylor

By Louise Archer

What is a WIG at Glebe-St. James United Church? And what are they planning for this COVID Christmas?

A few years ago, a Men’s Dinner Group began at Glebe-St. James with chili on the menu most months.  About the same time, the women decided they too should have a group too. The Women’s Intergenerational Group (WIG) was launched, featuring a monthly potluck lunch after the Sunday worship service. Between 15 and 25 women of all ages usually take part. Topics of discussion have included The New Canada Food Guide, White Woman Privilege, Medical Assistance in Dying and “What makes music so central to spiritual expression and community gatherings? How has the no singing rule affected us?”

Two years ago, the idea of doing something in the community at the Christmas season came up and the great sock project was launched. Warm new socks stuffed with a Toblerone chocolate bar and a handmade greeting were prepared for some 60 recipients at Centre 507. The centre provides nutritious meals, fun events and a sense of community as well as access to resources for housing, tax and legal supports.

This year, with the pandemic in full swing, the WIGs knew something more was needed. Our Christmas project for 2020 is to provide a little hope and support for more needy folk in the community. Centre 507 and the Odawa Native Friendship Centre clients need tote bags. WIGs will prepare over 100 gift bags with hand sanitizer, facemasks, a chocolate bar and a note of encouragement from the church. WIG is collecting recycled cloth bags. Bags should be of the sturdy washable variety.  If there is a logo on the bag, that is fine; WIG members will sew a pocket over the logo. If you have bags to donate, please contact the church office ( to arrange drop off.

The WIGs also wish to purchase some new winter sleeping bags for the homeless served by the Ottawa Innercity Ministries. Clients use sleeping bags as a warm pad to sit on when panhandling, as bedding if they are couch surfing or sleeping in a shelter, even as a cloak when the weather is really cold. These cost more than $100 each. As this is beyond the resources of the WIG, we invite members of the community to help. To contribute financially, please send a donation

to the church office marked “WIG Sleeping Bags.” The address is 650 Lyon Street South, Ottawa, K1S 3Z7.

Alternately, for information about volunteering or supporting Ottawa Innercity Ministries (OIM), visit OIM is looking for volunteers to help with the sorting of food and clothing donations. This is a great activity for families or small groups. To find out how you can help, please contact them at 613-237-6031.

As we are heading into cold weather, time is of the essence in getting your bags and dollars in. Thank you for helping the WIGs at Glebe-St. James to spread some cheer this winter.

Louise (Karsh) Archer is a long-time member of Glebe-St. James Church. She recently downsized to an apartment and hopes to travel more.

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