Volunteers in Action: GFWC Bitterroot Woman’s Club and Foundation and GFWC Women’s Club of Farmingdale
September 7, 2021
GFWC Bitterroot Woman’s Club and Foundation
Members of GFWC Bitterroot Woman’s Club and Foundation (Montana) have been hard at work creating no-sew blanket kits for people to make fleece blankets for dogs, cats, and other animals brought to the Bitterroot Humane Society. Club President Cathy Barth said the club first reached out to the Darby Public Library to see if there were any ways they could help, and the no-sew blanket kit project was born.
As part of this project, clubwomen donated patterned fleece that they organized into kits with instructions for making small blankets from the Bitterroot Humane Society.
“They are just delightful little prints,” Cathy said. “Our ladies really came through with the materials.”
The blanket kits were then taken to the library, where children and adults could pick them up to make the blankets and then deliver the completed projects to the Humane Society.
“It is a lovely project,” Cathy said. “…There’s no shortage of animals who need comfort or kids who need projects.”
Cathy explained the club decided to take on the project as a way to help the small town of Darby within Bitterroot Valley.
“It is important to our club to stay connected throughout the entire valley. This was a project that keeps our name out there and in the hearts and minds of the people of the valley,” Cathy said. “…This valley is a wonderful place to work with volunteer groups. People around here have really big hearts.”
GFWC Women’s Club of Farmingdale
GFWC Women’s Club of Farmingdale (New York) members have been busy throughout the summer collecting professional clothing, including work suits, shoes, and accessories, to support the local chapter of Dress for Success on Long Island. Publicity Chairman Maria Ortolani said the women’s club is always looking for new ways to give back to the community and this project fit the criteria. Organized by member Diane Getzelman, the club collected more than 25 bags of clothing and accessories for this cause and delivered them with the help of club President Tina Diamond to the Dress for Success warehouse storage site. This organization is a global, nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the developmental tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Recipients of the clothing and support services will go on interviews or start new jobs “dressed for success.”
“It definitely helps women in the community who struggle to be able to afford work clothing and who don’t have access to these types of services,” Maria said.
As the items were handed to the volunteers at the warehouse, they explained that the women who use the services come into a “boutique” with a mentor who helps them choose the best outfit and accessories to make their presentation to a future employer. More than 200 local nonprofit organizations refer these job-ready women to Dress for Success, including domestic violence agencies, homeless shelters, and veteran organizations. If a job is secured, the women can return to receive a week’s worth of work clothes. This includes accessories, shoes, and a coat if necessary. Aside from clothing, these women also get career counseling.
Maria explained although this is the first time the club has worked with Dress for Success, the project was a hit among members and she would love to see them do this again.
“First impressions are important and (the clothing) makes the women feel more confident,” she said. “…This was a great program to do over the summer.”
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For more than three decades Bonnie Peat worked in various leadership positions in the aerospace field and was a staunch promoter of women in the workforce. After retiring in 2019, she joined the GFWC Woman’s Club of Cypress in California.
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