Volunteers in Action: GFWC du Midi Woman’s Club and GFWC Gloucester County Women’s Club
February 22, 2022
GFWC du Midi Woman’s Club
Members of the GFWC du Midi Woman’s Club (Alabama) have dedicated many volunteer hours to helping people experiencing homelessness in their community by supporting First Stop, Inc. This nonprofit organization includes a day center that offers two hot meals a day, showers, laundry facilities, transportation services, and other basic and necessary hygiene and medical services to people in need. They also offer various outreach, enrichment, and case management support with the goal of helping people become independent. The club’s Health and Wellness Chairman Betty Zoller explained clubwomen work with First Stop, Inc., in many different ways.
One of these ways is by providing a large quarterly breakfast to clients of the organization. Betty said members spend many hours and several hundred dollars to prepare a meal for more than 50 people that includes healthy items such as egg casserole, sausage, fruit, biscuits, and much more.
“The clients get excited when we serve because we serve a wonderful meal,” she said.
In addition to offering a hot meal, Betty said members provide personal hygiene items, warm clothes, underwear, and blankets to the nonprofit when they can, as well as some monetary donations. She added a couple members also volunteer in the office of the day center.
For all of the clubwomen of GFWC du Midi Woman’s Club, offering people a helping hand and supporting them as they regain their independence is a rewarding experience.
“Helping First Stop is a joy for us,” Betty said. “…I have always had a heart for people experiencing homelessness. Some people have just had a hard time in life and you just want to help them any way you can.”
GFWC Gloucester County Women’s Club
Taking care of the environment for future generations continues to be a goal for the members of the GFWC Gloucester County Women’s Club (New Jersey). Club President Mary Schneider explained that the clubwomen designed and began selling reusable tote bags when they learned of the plastic bag ban that will take effect in New Jersey in May 2022. This law will prohibit all retail stores, food service businesses, and other grocery stores from selling to or providing their customers with single-use plastic carryout bags. The sturdy tote bags can hold 15 to 20 pounds and feature the club’s name and a message about recycling and reducing waste to protect the Earth.
Mary said she is glad the club has been able to help provide their friends and neighbors with a sustainable solution to the plastic bag ban and hopes this new law will make a positive impact on the number of plastic bags in landfills and waterways.
“[The law] will keep things out of landfills. Plastic bags accumulate so fast,” she said. “We’re doing this so people have something to put their groceries in and we’re helping save the environment.”
The club recently donated a portion of the funds raised through their tote bag sales to the South Jersey Land and Water Trust. This nonprofit organization works to preserve land and water resources through education and stewardship.
“They are really on top of things with the environment,” Mary said.
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