Volunteers in Action: GFWC Alabama, GFWC Hastings Women’s Club, and Woman’s Club of Wheeling
November 30, 2021
Members of two GFWC Alabama clubs did their part to participate in America Recycles Day on November 15. Ellen Clack, GFWC Alabama Environment Chairman, said members of the Magazine Club of Roanoke (Alabama) chose to participate by collecting plastic bags and bottles at the club’s meeting in October. The clubwomen then cut the bags into strips of plarn, or plastic yarn, that can be crocheted into bags, mats, and other items. Ellen said the members plan to make door mats, animal mats, and sleeping mats to donate to area homeless shelters.
“This is an easy project for anybody to participate in, regardless of the size of the club,” she said.
Ellen said this project was also shared with the local newspaper as a way to not only shine a light on the work of the clubwomen, but to raise more awareness about the importance of recycling and upcycling in order to keep plastics out of landfills and waterways.
The Hueytown Study Club (Alabama) was also busy collecting plastic bags and bottles, Styrofoam egg cartons, and yogurt containers to recycle.
“The members expanded (the recycling challenge) to include more than collecting plastic bags and bottles,” Ellen said.
She added the club even donated some of the items to a local elementary school to use in various arts and craft projects.
In total, Ellen said GFWC Alabama clubwomen collected 3,001 plastic bags and 2,619 plastic bottles.
GFWC Hastings Women’s Club
Clubwomen with GFWC Hastings Women’s Club (Michigan) are working to keep plastic out of waterways and landfills while also helping support people experiencing homelessness in their community. The club’s Environment Chairman Sue Gray said members participated in Operation Bed Roll last year and donated 24 mats made out of plarn, or plastic yarn, to a local homeless shelter. They decided to participate in this project again this year and are in the process of collecting bags and crocheting them into more mats to donate. Sue explained each mat requires about 600 plastic bags, so last year they were able to keep nearly 16,000 bags out of landfills.
Sue said she is glad this project has not only been able to provide some support and comfort to people experiencing homelessness, but has also benefited the local wildlife population by keeping plastic out of the environment where it can cause detrimental harm.
“I am an animal person. On my farm I have two lakes and I have seen animals trapped in plastic bags,” she said.
Sue added this has been a great project for the winter months and has provided clubwomen with a way to come together and do something positive.
Woman’s Club of Wheeling
Another club that has been participating in the recycling challenge for America Recycles Day is the Woman’s Club of Wheeling (West Virginia). Environment Chairman Jamesie Beecroft said clubwomen have been collecting plastic bags, plastic bottles, and empty pill bottles to be recycled and upcycled. In total, they have collected 978 bags, 2,510 bottles, and 185 pill bottles.
“Our club is very civic minded, so we just embraced this project,” she said.
Jamesie said some of the plastic bags were donated to a clubwoman who uses them to create various items such as Christmas decorations and placemats.
She explained the pill bottles were collected for Matthew 25 Ministries, an organization that accepts donations of pill bottles for inclusion in shipments of medical supplies to countries in need and for shredding and recycling. She said clubwomen were happy to participate in this project to support people around the world.
“No one should have to have their prescriptions or their pills handed to them in the palm of their hands,” she said.
Overall, Jamesie said they are all dedicated to recycling and doing what they can to take care of the environment for future generations.
“If we didn’t collect these plastic bags, where would they end up? If we didn’t collect them, it wouldn’t be fair to our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews who come after us,” she said.
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Annie Williams started her GFWC journey in 2011 and she immediately fell in love with her club and the women working alongside her.
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