Volunteers in Action: GFWC Cosmopolitan Club of Petal, GFWC Valamont Woman’s Club, GFWC Woman’s Club of Arlington, GFWC Woman’s Club of Paramus
February 2, 2021
GFWC Cosmopolitan Club of Petal (Mississippi)
Members of the Education and Libraries Committee with the GFWC Cosmopolitan Club of Petal (Mississippi) helped develop a lending library called “Rinse and Read” at a local laundromat in Petal. The library was made out of a re-purposed newspaper dispenser, which was purchased from a vintage store and transformed by the Petal School District maintenance department. A shelf was added to fit inside and it was filled with children’s books. The collection includes both Spanish and English books to reach the growing Hispanic communities in the area and school district. Club members began collecting the books early last year.
Children are encouraged to return the books to the lending library, and books will be replenished or repaired each month as needed. A sticker also will be adhered inside each book with information about the importance of reading and visiting the public library for more books.
The “Rinse and Read” project was made possible by a partnership between the GFWC Cosmopolitan Club of Petal and Excel By 5, an early education program that promotes early childhood education, resources, and parent education.
GFWC Valamont Woman’s Club (Tennessee)
On Martin Luther King Junior Day, GFWC Valamont Woman’s Club (Tennessee) hosted an outdoor, socially distanced, and masked event to try to bring joy to residents of a local care facility. During the event, members assembled packets for a coloring contest for residents of the facility. The judges for the contest will be a class of kindergartners, and the winner will receive a framed cross stitch design that was created by a past member who passed away last year. Clubwomen also made kits for other members to make tray favors for the residents of the care facility and planned treats for the kindergartners.
GFWC Woman’s Club of Arlington (Virginia)
The GFWC Woman’s Club of Arlington (Virginia) provided free handmade scarves, hats, gloves, and face masks to families assembled for food donations at the club’s parking lot on December 10, and January 14. The monthly Mobile Market of fruits, vegetables, and other groceries began taking place at the club in October, and is a collaboration between Barcroft Elementary School, Communities in Schools of Northern Virginia, and the Capital Area Food Bank. When a club member had the idea of placing hand knitted items in convenient areas for those in need, the food donation event seemed like the perfect opportunity, and the idea took off! The items were hung on trees near the parking lot during the Mobile Market with a card attached which read, “I am not lost. I was handmade for you. If you are cold or need me, please take me.”
During the second event in January, the club expanded their “Chase the Chill” project and offered new socks, small new blankets, and some used clothing in addition to the handmade scarves, hats, and gloves. In both December and January, club members gave out more than 100 scarves, hats, face masks, and more. Ten club members participated by knitting, crocheting, or sewing items, and working the day of the event. The members said they hope to continue this project in February, weather permitting.
GFWC Woman’s Club of Paramus
The GFWC Woman’s Club of Paramus (New Jersey) has made more than 18,000 masks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks have been donated to 15 hospitals, 15 nursing homes, more than 20 elder adult care centers, two veteran’s homes, special education students in Paramus, homeless veteran’s through GFWC New Jersey State President Jan Hansen’s special project Operation Chillout, and more than 40 sister clubs. The sewing brigade has been Paramus’ own “Rosie the Riveters” on the war against COVID-19.
The sewing brigade was started by New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs District Vice President Marie Sullivan, and includes club members Loretta Bayarski, Anna Perrone, Linda Buccino, Stacey Bukowski, Carol Cameron, Lisa Corrado, AnaLiza DeLeon, Pam Duke, Joyce Geils, Peggy Hickey, Dana Powers, Palisades District Vice President Debbie Cibelli, and GFWC Woman’s Club of Paramus President Shelley Rothstein.
“We will continue sewing until there is no longer a need; and unfortunately, there is no end in sight. I haven’t stopped sewing since March,” Marie Sullivan said. “We will do all in our power to help.”
The Woman’s Club of Paramus is also now selling masks to the general public for $10 each so it can continue to donate masks to those in need.
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Cherie Lee Williams
Cherie Lee Williams is a vibrant leader who has found GFWC to be a wonderful outlet for her love of community service and her can-do attitude. As both the President of the Mesquite Club (Nevada) for 2016-2017, as well as a 2016 LEADS candidate, she quickly learned the value of making connections in order to bring positive change to the world.
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.
Mesquite Club, Inc.
The Mesquite Club, Inc., located in Las Vegas, Nevada, started out the club year with 120 members and now has 132 members. How has the club gained a dozen new members over such a short time? One reason is Club President Cherie Williams’ commitment to raising public awareness of the club in any way possible.