Growing up in Virginia, Barbara Barnes was always one to support her community, and when the opportunity to join GFWC presented itself, she knew it was the right step for her.
Barbara attended her first meeting with the GFWC Woman’s Club of Windsor, Inc., of Virginia, in 2016 with a friend, and they both joined the club that same night. While donating to causes as an individual is important, Barbara enjoys being part of a group that is able to take on bigger projects and make a greater impact.
“I believe it’s important to give back,” she said.
After joining the woman’s club, Barbara soon became club president and started working with her fellow clubwomen to organize projects within their area.
One club project Barbara has been particularly excited to be a part of is a backpack program that provides healthy food to children in need. She explained the club partnered with a food bank and local school to fill backpacks with food that are then delivered to the school to be given to 60 children facing food insecurity. Barbara noted the children who receive the backpacks are selected by the school.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara said this backpack program did not take place in 2021, but she is hopeful it will start back up soon.
During her presidency, Barbara said the club was also able to raise funds for a scholarship through a special quilt raffle.
When longtime member Dot Gwaltney passed away after a short illness, another clubwoman, Helen Hill, found a quilt pattern and material Dot previously prepared. Helen dedicated her time to making the quilt, and the club set up the quilt raffle once it was finished. Barbara said all of the club members and area residents were excited to see the quilt, as Dot had been a well-known and beloved member of the community.
“It was beautiful and the response from the community was overwhelming,” Barbara said.
Along with being able to provide meaningful community service and offering help to those in need, Barbara said she truly enjoys the friendships she has found through GFWC. These friendships exist not only with her own club, but also with clubwoman throughout her state, the country, and the world.
Barbara said she enjoys going to state conferences and other meetings where members attend from all over to discuss their progress and activities during the previous year.
“It gets you pumped up to go to these conventions and these meetings to get a wider perspective than just your club,” she said.
Barbara said if anyone is considering joining a woman’s club, they should attend a meeting to learn more, give the group a chance, and see if they feel excited about the projects the club is undertaking.
“Being part of GFWC is wonderful,” she said.
When Nancy Anzalone saw a notice in the local paper about a woman’s club having a coffee meetup for potential new members, she felt called to attend. Soon after, she joined the GFWC Woman’s Club of West Covina, in California, and began her journey with the Federation.
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
The Rochester Junior Women's Club
The Rochester Junior Women’s Club (Michigan) was established in 1956 with 16 members, and today has over 70 members that always come together to support one another. The club chooses three or four major charities to support and several smaller ones, donating approximately $30,000 each year. In total since its inception, the club has provided more than 1 million hours of community service, and raised more than $928,000 to support their community!