This past year, 2017, brought a bittersweet moment. After nearly 60 years in existence, the Women’s Auxiliary to Mission Services of London took the difficult step of disbanding. It was a moment for remembrance, but also for a feeling of conviction that the invaluable legacy this group leaves as part of our history, will live on.
It was in 1960 that the WA, as we affectionately call it, was founded. Its purpose was to “assist the work of Mission Services of London in whatever way possible.” This was done through the gifts of time, talent, treasure and prayer.
Through the years, the WA donated more than $250,000 to countless programs and important client needs throughout Mission Services, though there is one branch where their mark is perhaps felt deepest.
In 2016, the Mission Store – a social enterprise offering an emergency voucher program at no cost to those in need, and also a thrift store that generates funding for other Mission Services client supports – relocated to the corner of York and Rectory.
The early concept for a program that would provide clothing to those in need has its roots in a volunteer-run Clothing Centre first established in 1964 by the WA. In the early 1970s, the WA established a social enterprise (long before the words “social enterprise” became buzz within charitable circles) and thus, the story of today’s Mission Store began.
WA members have been visionary women, seeing gaps as opportunities to serve. Were it not for their vision, leadership and “get-it-done” attitude, a branch of Mission Services that
provides support to more than 4,000 men, women and children of limited means in our area, would not exist. We at Mission Services of London are indebted to the WA, and we remain grateful for their faithful support.
True to form, the WA’s last item of business was to give. Representatives of the Auxiliary’s Executive Committee, presented a gift of $9,400 to members of the Mission Services of London Board of Directors and leadership team on November 13, 2017. It was a truly generous gesture, characteristic of the women who for more than half a century have bolstered the mission and faithfully supported the work of Mission Services of London.
It has been my privilege to get to know many of the members of the WA; what an encouragement their steady contributions over the years will continue to be for those seeking help at Mission Services! Each branch, in many ways, can speak to the quiet difference that the women of the WA have made to enable its progress to present day. Thank you WA!
by Ericka Ayala Ronson, Director of Development & Communications