Daughters of the Nile might be Galveston’s best kept secret
The young man had finally done it. He had beaten his drug addiction and Jan Porter couldn’t have been prouder, she said.
The young man’s father had taken him to The Salvation Army a year earlier to help him rehabilitate. Porter, who was working as a donor relations officer, witnessed the young man overcome his addiction and eventually become an orthopedic surgeon.
The Salvation Army helped save the young man’s life and that resonated with Porter, whose drive always has been to help others, she said. After 23 years with The Salvation Army, Porter retired but wanted to continue serving others, she said. So, she joined Daughters of the Nile.
The Daughters of the Nile Foundation is a nonprofit that supports the activities and patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 hospitals — including in Galveston — throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico renowned for providing the highest quality of care to children with burn injuries and other special health care needs.
Daughters of the Nile of Galveston wants to recruit more members like Porter who are passionate about helping others to garner more support for the children and families of Shriners Hospitals.
Daughters of the Nile was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1913 and has 20,000 members in 134 cities throughout the United States, Canada and South America. It’s a Masonic-related organization that maintains two permanent endowment funds in the United States and Canada to benefit Shriners.
The women’s nonprofit organization contributes more than $2 million annually to Shriners to be used for the medical care and rehabilitation for children. The Daughters of the Nile has contributed more than $64 million to Shriners since 1924.
“It’s one of the best kept secrets in Galveston,” said Sue Saunders, Queen of the Ramallah Temple No. 89 in Galveston. “Daughters of the Nile gives compassion, support, care and love to not only patients but their families as well.”
Women of good character who are 18 or older related by birth or marriage to a Shriner, Master Mason, a Daughter of the Nile or a majority member in good standing of a Masonic-related organization for girls — such as The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls — are eligible for Daughters of the Nile.
Women who were patients at a Shriners Hospital for Children, with or without Shriner or Masonic relationships, also are eligible. A member of Daughters of the Nile proposes an eligible woman for membership to a temple.
But even if a woman is ineligible to join, she could still donate, which is something anyone can do, Porter said.
Daughters of the Nile uses donations to support children at Shriners in several ways, including supplying items such as toys and puzzles and hosting monthly birthday parties for children, Saunders said. Shriners supporters also can donate toys and other supplies to the hospital leisure room, she added.
“We try to bring that sense of home and normality to the hospital,” Saunders said.
Daughters of the Nile also operates gift shops in the Shriners hospitals and uses the proceeds to buy essentials for families including sweatpants, socks, underwear, gas cards and pillowcases, Saunders said.
The organization takes that burden off hospitals, she said.
Saunders has been a member of Daughters of the Nile since 2015 and the Queen — or president — for a year. She enjoys the organization because of the camaraderie it helped her build with other women, she said.
“We all have a common bond,” she said. “And that is to make sure those children have what they need at the hospital.”