Volunteers in Action: GFWC Menominee Woman’s Club and GFWC New Jersey
November 23, 2021
GFWC Menominee Woman’s Club
Members of the GFWC Menominee Woman’s Club (Michigan) have found a creative way to help survivors of domestic violence in their community. Club President Judy Reid said in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, they reached out to Rainbow House, a local shelter. The shelter director explained that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, clients have been unable to stay at the shelter due to social distancing guidelines and have instead been discreetly housed in area hotels. However, this has made cooking and cleaning up after meals difficult for these families and individuals. Judy said members of the GFWC Menominee Woman’s Club jumped into action to donate supplies and create “Kitchen Kits” to make this situation more manageable.
Each kit included sturdy paper plates and bowls, a sleeve of beverage cups, Ziploc bags, disposable silverware, dish soap, napkins, disinfecting wipes, a small paring knife with a guard, spoons for stirring, a small cutting board, and a dish cloth and towel. The club was able to create 13 of these kits to donate to the organization.
Judy said she initially thought they would be able to put together about five Kitchen Kits, and that she was thrilled with the amount of items they collected in the end. She added the shelter director was very excited when they delivered the donations.
“I was so blown away,” Judy said.
In addition to supporting survivors of domestic violence through this project, Judy said it is important to continue to raise awareness and to offer help, or even just a listening ear, when they can.
“You never know at what point in our lives we need a little extra hug,” she said.
GFWC New Jersey
Clubwomen with GFWC New Jersey came together during their State Fall Conference in October to bring a smile to the faces of patients at Children’s Specialized Hospitals throughout the state. Children’s Specialized Hospital provides inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges, including chronic illnesses, physical disabilities, and other developmental and mental health concerns. Jane Mackesy, GFWC New Jersey Advocates for Children Chairman, said GFWC New Jersey State President Jan Hanson suggested reconnecting with the children’s hospital, and members quickly came on board to help collect arts and crafts supplies to be donated.
The items collected included crayons, markers, puzzles, sand art, beads, and more. In total, Jane said members donated 3,544 different items valued at about $8,450. In addition to these supplies, she said small, wooden giraffes representing the Juniors’ Special Program: Advocates for Children 2020-2022 theme “Stick Your Neck Out” were provided for children to paint.
Jane said she was very excited to drop off some of the supplies at one of the hospital locations.
“The (supplies) are for children who go to Children’s Specialized Hospital to use in their arts and crafts rooms,” she said. “They need to be occupied and do fun things, and for some of them, it’s for movement and mobility to help with what they may be being treated for.”
Jane said supporting and giving back to children is important to GFWC New Jersey clubwomen and that this was a great opportunity to do something meaningful.
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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.
GFWC Lawrence Classics Club
The GFWC Lawrence Classics Club (Kansas) has 19 members, and it’s an incredible mixture: one charter member has been involved since 1997; one member has been part of GFWC since 1960; there are a mother and daughter pair who are 2nd and 3rd generation clubwomen; four members are Boosters; and their youngest member only graduated from college last year. This assorted group shares the same values about volunteerism and puts them into action.