Swift Current non-profits benefit from year-end donations by Fraternal Order of Eagles

Ryan Johnson (at right), representing the Swift Current #1728 Fraternal Order of Eagles, presents a cheque of $1,500 to Lieut. Bill Mailman from the Swift Current Salvation Army, Dec. 20.

By Matthew Liebenberg

Several non-profit organizations benefitted from year-end donations made by the Swift Current Aerie #1728 Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Club secretary Ryan Johnson and club auditor Andy Johnson made cheque presentations to four organizations, Dec. 20.

These in-person donations were made to Salvation Army Swift Current ($1,500), Southwest Crisis Services ($1,000), Swift Current Community Youth Initiative – The Center ($1,000) and SaskAbilities Swift Current Branch ($500).

Cheques were also mailed to the Kids Help Phone ($500) and Canadian Cancer Society ($250).

The club will do these cheque donations annually to different non-profit organizations at the end of the year in the run-up to Christmas.

“We try to do most of our donations just locally,” Ryan noted. “We do some out of the city, but we try to keep it as locally as we can.”

Other organizations have already benefitted during 2023 from the club’s generosity. A donation of $1,000 was made to the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation during the 2023 Pharmasave Radiothon for Healthcare and $1,000 was donated to the STARS air ambulance service.

The club also made two donations with a total value of $5,000 to the City of Swift Current. The one donation of $2,500 is to sponsor free swimming for youth at the Aquatic Centre and the other donation of $2,500 is a sponsorship for public skating at the S3 Arenas.

It is a key principle of the Fraternal Order of Eagles to give back to the community through their various fundraising activities.

“We’re there to help,” Andy said. “Our logo is ‘People Helping People’ and that’s what we’re there to do.”

He noted that the club’s decisions on donations to non-profit organizations will be influenced by various considerations, but the goal is always to help others.

“We try to stay with the main ones that help the local communities,” he said. “And then we also do private ones for if there is an Eagles member’s family member that’s sick, like kids that are sick. We’ll do fundraisers for that. It all just depends on who is asking, who needs the money, who needs the help.”

The club raises money through various activities. The Eagles Hall can be rented for functions and special events. Ryan noted that rental rates are reasonable and it has been a busy year for the hall in 2023.

The club hosts weekly meal events at the hall during the fall and winter, which are open to the public. The Wednesday fish fry takes place for lunch (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and supper (5-7:30 p.m.). Friday lunches are from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the hall is open on Saturdays for steak and eggs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The club will also sell Nevada tickets and do meat draws to raise funds. Their activities were hampered during the COVID-19 pandemic and it had an impact on the funds they were able to raise and distribute.

“Our numbers weren’t as high to be able to donate, because when we were closed, we’re not raising funds,” Andy said. “So we’re getting back there slowly.”

They are therefore expecting that annual donation amounts at the end of the year will continue to creep back up in the future to the same level as before COVID.

Swift Current Aerie #1728 currently has 285 members. Aerie is a term for an eagle’s nest and the Fraternal Order of Eagles uses it to refer to a local club or unit.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles has been active in Swift Current since 1907 and it is therefore one of the oldest existing clubs in the city. New members are always welcome.

“All you need to do is find a local member, because you need a member to sign up another member,” Ryan said. “A good way to come in is through our steak and eggs or through fish fry. You’ll get to know people. You might even actually know somebody already that belongs to the Eagles.”