Volunteers in Action: GFWC Woman’s Club of Maquoketa, GFWC Baldwin Woman’s Club, and GFWC Millville Woman’s Club

GFWC Woman’s Club of Maquoketa and GFWC Baldwin Woman’s Club

The GFWC Woman’s Club of Maquoketa (Iowa) and the GFWC Baldwin Woman’s Club (Iowa) recently teamed up to present a program on human trafficking awareness to their community. GFWC Woman’s Club of Maquoketa President Lisa Gottschalk said the event garnered a phenomenal turnout of 104 attendees from their small town.

The event was held at the Voy Theatre in Maquoketa, Iowa, and included keynote speakers Ray Fiedler, a former DCI Agent for the state of Iowa who now heads up the Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking, as well as Sheriff Brent Kilburg, who is the sheriff for Jackson County, Iowa. Following their presentations, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions before a showing of the documentary film I AM JANE DOE. The documentary follows the battle that several American families have waged on behalf of their daughters, victims of sex trafficking who were coerced via online predators.

The two clubs were able to provide this educational event to the community for free after receiving a $350 community services grant. The grant covered the theatre and movie rental expenses. Along with the grant, donations were provided that allowed the club to send $155 to the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery.

Lisa said she was incredibly pleased with the presenters and the crowd in attendance.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our club members from both the Maquoketa and Baldwin clubs, as this was our first, but certainly not our last, event that we have collaborated on,” she said.

 

 

GFWC Millville Woman’s Club 

Members of the GFWC Millville Woman’s Club (New Jersey) helped brighten the holiday of 10 local families by providing complete Thanksgiving meals to those in need. Clubwoman Nancy Hammond explained the meals were distributed to the families by the Silver Run School in Millville, New Jersey. She added that each of the bags of food included items such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables, desserts, and more.

“There were so many contributions from members this year,” Nancy said. “I’m so proud of everyone.”

In addition to the 10 meals, extra food donations were taken to the Help and Hope Ministries, a food pantry that provides bags of groceries to eligible clients in the community.

Nancy said the clubwomen were excited to participate in this project because they are all thankful for what they have and wanted to help others be thankful this time of year as well.

“It’s important to help others all year long,” she said. “But it’s especially important right now to help the people in our community enjoy their holiday as much as anyone else.”

Volunteers in Action: GFWC Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills and GFWC Poplarville Woman’s Club

GFWC Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills 

As part of the club’s ongoing support of their public libraries, members of the GFWC Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills (New Jersey) donated two telescopes and a monetary donation to two local libraries. Communication Chairman Joan Garbarino explained that the telescopes can be checked out of the libraries for 14 days at a time and the funds will go to support the children’s and teen’s departments.

“We feel the children are the future of our town, state, and country,” Joan said. “We like to donate these items because STEM education is very important.”

Joan added that working with their area libraries is a continuous project for the clubwomen and that they go to the staff to discuss what new items they need about once a year.

“We do a lot of work with both of these libraries,” Joan said.

Along with these donations, the club has also provided microscopes and additional funds in the past.

“Our members love doing projects for the children to help them develop,” Joan said. “We want to give them every advantage that we can as clubwomen.”

 

GFWC Poplarville Woman’s Club 

 

Members of the GFWC Poplarville Woman’s Club (Mississippi) have been teaming up with other area residents to clean more than 200 veterans’ headstones in local cemeteries throughout the past several weeks for Veterans Day. Club President Dawn Vosbein said about 40 people worked together on five different occasions to clean up the graves in five area cemeteries.

“We’re all either spouses or children of veterans and this was something extra we wanted to do for Veterans Day,” she said.

In addition to this project, Dawn said the club partners with the local middle school to host a breakfast, organize a program, and donate various gift cards for local veterans each year.

She added that the club and the rest of the community are always happy to show their support and appreciation to veterans.

“These projects are important because of everything that they’ve done for us,” Dawn said. “We wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have a free country it if weren’t for their sacrifices.”

Volunteers in Action: GFWC Prestonsburg Woman’s Club and GFWC District of Columbia Club

GFWC Prestonsburg Woman’s Club 

Members of the GFWC Prestonsburg Woman’s Club (Kentucky) spent Veterans Day placing American flags at the graves of veterans in their local cemetery to show their respect and honor the men and women who have served in the military. Club President Sabra Jacobs said the club has been participating in this project for at least six or seven years.

“We all love to have this opportunity,” she said. “We almost all have loved ones who have been in the military at one point or another, or if not, we want to celebrate these veterans and show how thankful we are for their service.”

This year, clubwomen placed nearly 140 flags at graves in Gethsemane Gardens. Sabra said members also take the time to remember and honor the veterans’ sacrifices while they are placing the flags. She added that members look forward to this project each year as it is a simple but heartfelt way to show their respect and support to service members.

In addition to the club members enjoying this project, Sabra said the community and cemetery owners have expressed their support and appreciation for this annual project.

 

 

GFWC District of Columbia Club 

Clubwomen with the GFWC District of Columbia Club (Washington, DC) have collected more than 160 new and gently used bras and at least 25 boxes of tampons in just two months for individuals experiencing homelessness, impoverishment, or other challenges. GFWC District of Columbia President Mohra Gavankar explained that the club will donate the items through I Support The Girls, an organization that collects donations of bras and individually sealed tampons and maxi pads and distributes them to girls in need across the U.S. and globally. She added that the club first heard about the organization through a fellow member who thought it would be a worthy mission to support.

“Women who are in a challenging position sometimes have to make a decision between buying tampons or buying bras and feeding their families,” Mohra said. “Period products are an essential item for women all over the world.”

After receiving such an encouraging response for the project, Mohra said the clubwomen decided they would continue with this project and that they hope to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

“We can do something to change our little corner of the world,” she said.

Volunteers in Action: GFWC Windsor Woman’s Club and Woman’s Club of Newport News

GFWC Windsor Woman’s Club

In October, the GFWC Windsor Woman’s Club (Connecticut) participated in the Annual Canoe Race on the Town Green, sponsored by a local Kiwanis club. Publicity Chairman Maureen Andryuk explained the “canoe race” involved decorating and filling a canoe with food, with donations and proceeds going toward the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank.

Maureen said the club was awarded three trophies for their participation, including one for the Best Decorated Canoe as well as for the most pounds of food and money collected. In total, the GFWC Windsor Woman’s Club donated 735 pounds of food and $880.

“We try to be very helpful to the Food and Fuel,” Maureen said. “We have given them so much over the years.”

She added that the clubwomen all believe in the importance of supporting this organization and enjoy participating in different fundraising events and donation drives throughout the year. Other activities the club has been involved in include donating gift cards in November to help families pay for their Thanksgiving dinners and helping to fill backpacks with food for the organization’s weekend food program.

“The Food and Fuel Bank helps the people in our town, and with the economy the way it is, I think people need help more than ever,” Maureen said.

 

 

Woman’s Club of Newport News 

The Woman’s Club of Newport News (Virginia) organized a Bottle Auction last month to raise funds for human trafficking awareness. Club members were asked to donate items in a bottle that were wrapped or bagged so that the item was not visible, but attendees were given a clue as to what each item was during the auction. Event Chairman Linda Rayfield said a local professional auctioneer, Kyle Hause, volunteered his time for the event to help make the bidding fun for members and guests. In total, 14 packages were donated for the auction and the event raised $1,700.

Linda explained that the funds raised will help offset the cost of the FreeKind Prevention Project Curriculum that is taught to all incoming sixth graders in the Newport News School Division. Freekind was started by two area nonprofits, the Richmond Justice Initiative and the Virginia Beach Justice Initiative, and it aims to both help support survivors of human trafficking and to educate youth about how to avoid being exploited by traffickers.

Linda said the clubwomen all strongly believe in the mission of this program and the value of bringing awareness to the community.

“It’s important to empower kids with this information,” she said. “Human trafficking is happening everywhere, so we all wanted to help support this program.”

Volunteers in Action: GFWC Woman’s Club of the Lowcountry and GFWC Botetourt Town and Country Women’s Club

GFWC Woman’s Club of the Lowcountry 

In recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, members of the GFWC Woman’s Club of the Lowcountry (South Carolina) donated “Pink Bags” to a local doctor’s office for patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Clubwoman Kathy Ricardo explained the bags were filled with a variety of items to bring comfort to these individuals, such as face cream, lip balm, small blankets, warm socks, puzzle books, and more. During the club’s monthly meeting, at least 30 bags were collected.

Kathy said this project is important to all the clubwomen since several members are breast cancer survivors themselves and they believe it is important to show their support to others in the community as well.

“This was a community action that we really wanted to take,” she said, adding that she is always impressed with how giving and helpful the clubwomen are to others.

 

 

GFWC Botetourt Town and Country Women’s Club 

 

The GFWC Botetourt Town and Country Women’s Club (Virginia) donated 127 care bags to Salvation Army’s Turning Point facility in Roanoke, Virginia, for survivors of domestic violence. Communications and Public Relations Chair Julie Gladu said the club has participated in this project for several years and the members are always happy to be able to help individuals in need in their community.

“We are proud of the work this organization does and we want to support them,” she said.

Each bag is filled with a variety of personal care items such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and more. Julie said they also include a message of hope and encouragement along with every bag.

“When someone goes to the shelter, they are able to freshen up and have a nice bag to keep their things in,” she said.

Julie said the club will continue to be passionate about domestic violence awareness and making a positive difference for survivors however possible.

Volunteers in Action: GFWC Marlborough Junior Woman’s Club and GFWC Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa

GFWC Marlborough Junior Woman’s Club 

After a two-year hiatus, GFWC Marlborough Junior Woman’s Club (Massachusetts) held its third Trunk-or-Treat event on October 23 to kick off GFWC Advocates for Children’s Week. Club member and GFWC Juniors’ Special Program Chairman Katie Robey explained the event recruited businesses and other local nonprofits to pay for a spot in a parking lot to set up their vehicle and decorate it with a Halloween theme. Each business and organization then gave out treats or small toys to kids and their families as they walked around the fun-filled event.

“It was a great way to get the community involved and raise some funds,” Katie said.

Club President Justine Craven Goetz said the Trunk-or-Treat event was a wonderful way for kids to enjoy Halloween safely. She added that about 800 to 900 children attended.

“The day went really well,” Justine said. “It is a great event at so many levels.”

In addition to the treats and toys from local organizations, the club provided games for the children to play, as well as several Halloween-themed photo opportunities and a Membership booth with a treat and information for the adults. Pumpkins provided by a local garden store were also given away for free to attendees and the property owner provided popcorn, coffee, and hot chocolate.

The Marlborough Fire Department also brought a truck and firefighters to talk to the attendees and the Marlborough Police Department came with a vehicle as well as their K9 dog, Meiko, and handed out stickers.

Proceeds from the event will be used to help fund the club’s community service projects.

 

 

GFWC Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa 

 

Members of the GFWC Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa (Colorado) are working hard to help those in need in their community while also protecting the environment. Club member and GFWC Colorado Communications and Public Relations Chairman Theresa Rudder explained that several clubwomen are in the process of crocheting plastic sleeping mats to donate to people experiencing homelessness and to area nursing homes. These mats, made from “plarn” are waterproof, easy to clean, and good for insulation. Plarn is plastic yarn made from cutting up plastic grocery bags.

Theresa said it takes about 500 plastic bags to make one mat and members hope to make three to four mats out of the plastic bags they currently have but added that this will be an ongoing project.

“It’s such a great project and it’s so fun to make the plarn,” she said.

In addition to being a way to fill a need in the community, Theresa said the project will benefit the environment as well.

“Since we are using all the bags, they aren’t filling up the oceans and landfills,” she said.

Volunteers in Action: GFWC Jacksonville Beaches Woman’s Club and GFWC North Central Junior Alumnae Club

GFWC Jacksonville Beaches Woman’s Club

 

In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, members of the GFWC Jacksonville Beaches Woman’s Club (Florida) adorned seven palm trees leading into the town center with symbolic purple ribbons. Clubwoman Theresa Crockett explained that the city of Neptune Beach has allowed the woman’s club to complete this awareness project for the past several years, and the clubwomen always look forward to putting up the ribbons. Organized by the club’s Signature Program Chairman Elizabeth Dallas, the goal of the project is to lend support and raise public awareness about domestic violence.

“It’s a visual project – now for a whole month people are going to drive by these ribbons,” Theresa said.

She added that although there has been progress throughout the years in addressing domestic violence, there is still more work to be done.

“Everybody is in it for the long haul,” she said. “We continue to focus on domestic violence because it still needs to be talked about.”

 

GFWC North Central Junior Alumnae Club 

 

Members of the GFWC North Central Junior Alumnae Club (West Virginia) are working hard this month to spread the word about Breast Cancer Awareness. Their awareness efforts kicked off with a “Pink Out Party” held at their October meeting, during which members dressed in pink and were encouraged to continue to wear pink along with breast cancer awareness pins throughout the month. Members were also invited to express their creativity by painting pumpkins pink and displaying them at their homes or throughout their communities along with signs encouraging people to schedule a mammogram.

Second Vice President Tressa Wolfe said building awareness around Breast Cancer Awareness Month is very important to the clubwomen.

“We have several members of our club who are breast cancer survivors and they all discovered it through mammograms,” she said. “We feel it is very important for women in the community to schedule their mammogram.”

Since the club includes members from throughout five different counties, Tressa said the project will have a broad reach.

In addition to this project, in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well, the club donated $300 of monetary and in-kind donations for Hope Incorporated, an area domestic violence shelter.

Volunteers in Action: Hightstown Woman’s Club and Morgan Park Woman’s Club

Hightstown Woman’s Club 

Members of the Hightstown Woman’s Club (New Jersey) were in the holiday spirit early this year as they spent the past week stuffing 42 handmade Christmas stockings for men and women serving in the military overseas. Second Vice President Barb Harrington said the club has been participating in the project for several years and the clubwomen always look forward to this time of year.

“We wanted to do something to help the men and women who are serving who can’t get home for Christmas,” she said.

Barb explained that each year the GFWC New Jersey State Federation sends out lists of needed supplies that can go in the stockings and then participating clubs fill the stockings and drop them off to the State Headquarters, where they are then mailed overseas. This year, the Hightstown Woman’s Club filled their stockings with shampoo, body wash, deodorant, tissues, puzzle books, protein bars, candy, and other treats and personal hygiene items.

Barb said this is a fun way for the clubwomen to get together and make a positive difference.

“Whether it is in our own community or an outreach situation, we all like to help,” she said.

 

Morgan Park Woman’s Club 

Since 2000, the Morgan Park Woman’s Club (Illinois) has helped provide local students with diverse, educational, and fun books through their Books for Schools project. Cheryl Tully, project co-chair, explained the club provides books to 12 classrooms in seven of the local public schools. They raise the money for the books through various other projects and fundraisers throughout the year.

Cheryl said the club always purchases the books from an independent bookseller in the community who selects a wide variety and range of titles for the students. She added that with everything that is going on in the world, the clubwomen feel it is important for the kids to have access to diverse information.

“I think this is a great way to introduce the kids to different topics,” she said.

Last year, the club purchased 144 books. The club will begin purchasing books for this year’s donation soon.

Cheryl said the teachers are always thrilled when they make the book donation and the clubwomen are equally enthusiastic about the project each year.

Volunteers in Action: The Woman’s Club of Clayton and GFWC North Central Junior Alumnae Club

The Woman’s Club of Clayton 

Several North Carolina clubwomen participated in a 5K walk/run to support House of Hope, an organization that offers support services to girls and their families.

Members of The Woman’s Club of Clayton (North Carolina) are continuing their efforts to support House of Hope, a therapeutic school, home, and counseling center for girls ages 12-17 and their families. One of the many ways the clubwomen supported the center was through participating in a 5K walk/run organized by House of Hope in September. With the help of the members and other area residents, the event raised more than $7,000 for the organization. Health and Wellness Co-Chair Nancy Maynard said several members jumped at the opportunity to participate and donate funds.

“Everyone had a great time. This is one of our passions, so any chance to support them, we take,” she said.

In addition to participating in the 5K, Nancy said members also regularly sign up to prepare monthly meals for the girls living in the home, a couple of clubwomen are looking to begin volunteering as tutors once a week, and they have provided Christmas gifts to the girls in the past. She added they are always looking for new ways to show their support to House of Hope.

“This is just a special little place,” she said. “We want these young women to go on to have successful lives.”

 

 

GFWC North Central Junior Alumnae Club 

West Virginia clubwomen put together gift bags of school supplies for teachers heading back into the classroom this year.

The GFWC North Central Junior Alumnae Club (West Virginia) showed their support to teachers and students this year by contributing more than $900 to create Back to School Teacher Support Bags. Club President Cindy Jenkins said this project was created last year to give teachers a boost as they start off the new school year, and members were all excited to participate once again.

“We really wanted to say, ‘thank you’ to the teachers,” she said.

Cindy explained some members provided gift cards or cash so that teachers could purchase specific items that they had a need for, while others put together gift bags filled with school essentials, such as tissues, pencils, disinfectant spray, glue sticks, and more. In addition to the supplies, she said members also like to include a small gift for the teachers to enjoy, such as a bottle of hand lotion or some candy.

“The teachers need our support because they support our kids,” Cindy said.

She added that the club will likely continue with this project in the future, as there will always be a need for new school supplies in the classroom.

Volunteers in Action: Amery Woman’s Club and GFWC Wake Forest Woman’s Club

Amery Woman’s Club 

Members of the Amery Woman’s Club donated funds to support GFWC Affiliate Organization Canine Companions.

The Amery Woman’s Club (Wisconsin) was excited to welcome GFWC Affiliate Organization Canine Companions to their September meeting to learn more about the nonprofit’s work in the service dog industry.

“The clubwomen believe in this organization and helping people,” said Club President Julie Andersen. “And we are all dog lovers.”

Canine Companions volunteer and trainer Michelle attended the club meeting with Chris, who she has had since he was 8 weeks old. Chris came to her from Alaska in October 2021 and has been training with Michelle for the last 15 months. After nine additional months of training, he will be placed with a child, adult, or veteran in need of a companion.

In addition to hearing more about how service animals are trained, the club members donated $200 dollars in support of the organization. The funds were raised through a gift basket raffle.

“These service dogs are just amazing creatures,” Julie said. “They change lives.”

Canine Companions, founded in 1975, is leading the service dog industry so people with disabilities can live with greater independence.

 

 

GFWC Wake Forest Woman’s Club 

GFWC Wake Forest Woman’s Club member Beth Dumproff helped transport donations of books and school supplies from the club to the local Boys and Girls Club.

Members of the Education and Libraries Committee of the GFWC Wake Forest Woman’s Club (North Carolina) have been hard at work in their community making a difference for kids of all ages. One of several projects the committee organized in the past several weeks was a donation of school supplies and books to the local Boys and Girls Club. Publicist Elaine Incorvaia said when the clubwomen met and decided that they wanted to support this organization, they reached out for a wish list of supplies from the Boys and Girls Club. After learning more about their after-school activities, members gathered books focused on pre-reading skills and rhyming words.

“The Boys and Girls Club was so thrilled with receiving everything,” she said.

In addition to this donation, the GFWC Wake Forest Woman’s Club also renewed a subscription to the Highlights for Children magazine on behalf of Safe Space, a local domestic violence shelter. Elaine said the members chose to do this because they want the children at the shelter to have something fun and entertaining to focus on and enjoy, even during challenging times.

Lastly, Elaine said the members plan to begin tutoring students at area schools soon. She noted the clubwomen are excited for the opportunity to help kids one-on-one again.

“They are our next generation. We want to support these kids and give them every opportunity we can,” she said. “We want to make education fun.”