100 Years Ago: Red Cross Penny Bag Collection, 235th Battalion Prepares for Overseas

The Intelligencer March 27, 1917 (page 2)

“Red Cross Penny Bag Collection to-morrow, Wednesday, please have your bags ready with as many pennies as you feel you can spare in them. This month we are again aiming at $300.

Last month some of the collectors in going their rounds, met the charge in a very few instance that ‘the Penny Bag people were too grasping, that they were doing very well indeed, and should be satisfied, instead of aiming at more each month.’

Those in charge of this fund have been so delighted at, and grateful for the generous response of our interested citizens, and for the interest which has increased rather than diminished, as the months passed, in this simple means of raising money to expend for our brave soldiers. The need is so great, the money so well expended.

We don’t want one cent given grudgingly, but we would like to feel that every man, woman and child in our city, was each month trying to do their bit (no matter how small if it’s all they are able to give) towards supplying the needs of those who are suffering so much, for our safety and peace.

Many questions have been asked about the Red Cross Penny bags. About a year ago Miss Greene, Superintendent of the Belleville Hospital, instituted this plan of raising funds toward providing material for the supplies, which a number of faithful workers, met, twice a week, to make up into ‘hospital supplies’ for the wounded soldiers in the hospitals overseas. The penny bags were at first used only by these workers and their friends. The plan appealed to everybody as the simplest way of raising money, a way in which everyone, down to the smallest child, who would sometimes forego a picture show, some candy or other treat, could participate in without feeling any real pinch.

After the first month Miss Greene passed it over, a committee was formed, and the entire city was divided into districts, looked after by various collectors. Anyone who has ever done any collecting knows that it is by no means pleasant work and much gratitude is felt for those who have undertaken this part of the work.”

The Intelligencer March 27, 1917 (page 3)

“The 235th Battalion has been warned to prepare to leave for overseas. The unit will leave Ottawa in the course of a few weeks. When the announcement was made to the officers and men, the news was received with great rejoicing.

The battalion was organized late last summer by Lt.-Col. Scobell and the majority of the recruits were taken from the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward. Headquarters were established at Belleville. A few weeks ago the 235th came to Ottawa and here several men have been enlisted.

Yesterday the battalion mustered 500 strong and Col. Scobell hopes that by the time he takes his unit from Ottawa there will be an additional 300 men in the ranks. Serving in the 235th are many professional men. Six ministers deserted their pulpits, three lawyers, left the bar, two professors forsook the lecture room and joined the 235th in order to go forward quickly. The battalion is considered one of the foremost in Canada.”