Woman of the Week, Mrs. A.C. Holmes, O.B.E., Evening Telegram, 1946, February 16, p.8
We visited Mrs. Holmes in her homely room at the Caribou Hut.
“This office was opened on Christmas day of 1940,” she said. “We handled as many as 100 men at that time, but by 1943 we were serving 1200 a day, feeding them and looking after them in numerous ways.”
“Here, also, I met mothers wanting advice about their boys, and if a boy in the building wanted anything, and it was here, he would come. We met the relatives of the prisoners of war, and gave them tea-parties.”
Representing the W.P.A., Mrs. Holmes has been in charge of its Visiting Committee, whose duties were to visit the relatives of the boys who were fighting overseas. In that year, under the auspices of the W.P.A., was set up the club-room for the boys on the street, but to accommodate the ever increasing influx of Canadians, Americans, and the British Navy, it was found necessary to reorganize. The result been the Recruits Club.
“The work in connection with the Club was entirely voluntary,” Mrs. Holmes said, “we gave the boys food, sleeping quarters, entertainment. When we started we had 40 voluntary helpers, but the number eventually increased to 390.”
Mrs. Holmes also served on the Executive of the St. John’s War Services, representing the W.P. A, and is also in charge of supervising the visiting of the Hospital Committee, whose work is still going on.
“During the last year,” Mrs. Holmes continued, “the work has been mainly with the wives from overseas. We meet them all, and keep track of them. We send them magazines and hear from them all the time. They are given three years of free hospitalization after their arrival, and in this respect the Department of Public Health and Welfare gives great co-operation.”
“We formed the Rose and Thistle Club for these lonely girls who have come to our shores. We do our best to make them feel welcome, but we feel that, our own girls are not doing their part in this respect, and that they are not meeting them enough.”
Since 1940, through the services of the I.O.D., second-hand clothing and woolens were given out to service wives and mothers, to many survivors, and to the Merchant Seaman.
“There is much more yet to do,” Mrs. Holmes concluded, “and we can’t clew off until it has all been done. Today, we are getting more calls than ever, in our efforts to attempt to wind them things up. The Department of Public Health and Welfare has been wonderful, and has given us everything we asked for. The Defense Department and the N.P.A. were 100% co-operative.”
“I’ve enjoyed the work very much, but I am tired now, and am looking forward so much to the summer.”
We hope, too, that Mrs. Holmes enjoys her well-earned rest, and we also wish to avail ourselves of this opportunity of congratulating her on receiving the honour of the O. B. E., for service rendered during the war years.