Grange just keeps going
10:06 am December 23rd, 2013
Sally McKay has been a member of Ohop Grange since she was 16. (Michelle Pate/The Dispatch)
Grange is a fraternal organization that was started in 1867 after the Civil War as an advocacy group for farmers who were concerned about the prices of their produce
Fast-forward to 2013. Besides agricultural interests, Grange is playing a role in communities in a variety of ways. Just ask the members of Ohop Grange.
The Eatonville-area Ohop membership sends representatives to yearly state conventions and is active in lobbying for legislation to raise awareness of property taxation issues. Closer to home, the Ohop group supports schools by donating dictionaries each fall to every third-grader in the Eatonville School District and, as the winter break nears, provides gifts for students at one of the elementary schools, Columbia Crest.
A bazaar and bake sale in November, with proceeds supporting Grange activities, is another annual highlight. Ladies such as Sally McKay, an Ohop member since she was 16 years old and who is known for her fruitcake, get together a few days before the bazaar to make homemade pies from scratch. For fruit pies, they peel apples and even pick the berries.
Other “pie ladies” include Sharon Aguilar, who retired after teaching Spanish at Eatonville High School; Linda Arment, wife of Ray Arment, former superintendent of the school district; Ruth Nelson, a longtime Granger; and Louise Wackerle, another retired former high school teacher.
Ohop Grange has 80 dues-paying members, of which 25 are active in the group’s events and programs. Younger members are being recruited to help carry on the group’s community deeds. The group’s hall is at 416089 Mountain Hwy. E., and its phone number is 360-832-6410.
Grangers refer to each other as brothers and sisters, which goes with the organization’s emphasis on family values and providing a welcoming environment for everyone from newborns to great-grandparents.
Adult members often got their start as members of Junior Grange, which is for ages 5 to 14. At 14, they become members in the Subordinate Grange, with full voting rights and the ability to hold any office at any level of the organization.
Grangers participate in big and small projects, partner with other community organizations, and participate in fund-raisers locally and nationally.
Its historical agriculture roots were reaffirmed last month by national Grange president Ed Luttrell. Speaking at the group’s national convention, he called on Congress to pass pro-farm legislation and to preserve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“For the past 146 years, the Grange has focused on educating and teaching our members how to make their lives – and the communities they call home – better,” Luttrell said. “We have helped generations of Americans to improve their lives. In the process, we have many times also changed America for the better.”