Volunteers in Action: GFWC Woman’s Club of Raleigh, GFWC Battle Ground, GFWC Brunswick Woman’s Club, and GFWC Lexington Woman’s Club
March 9, 2021
GFWC Woman’s Club of Raleigh (North Carolina)
Members of GFWC Woman’s Club of Raleigh (North Carolina) partnered with REACH (Resilience, Empowerment, Access for Children Experiencing Homelessness) to provide children with 130 fabric “HeART Bags” with the goal of giving children living in motels, doubled up with families, or in other modes of transition, arts and crafts supplies to encourage them to create “Art from the Heart.” REACH is a Passage Home program, which is an organization devoted to helping families transition from homelessness to housing, break the cycle of poverty, and create multi-generational self-sufficiency for individuals and families.
Members of the club’s Arts and Culture Community Service Program used a basic pattern for the bags, and many added personal touches through their fabric choices and by lining and trimming the bags. Clubwomen and other community friends also participated by donating an abundance of art supplies, including coloring books, crayons, sketch pads, markers, construction paper, glue sticks, and more. Bags for teenagers also included items such as ideas for art projects, note pads, and tissue packs, to name a few. Each bag included a tag which read, “A bunch of us put this bag together because we love to make art. We thought you might like to make art as well! Pull out the goodies. Express your heart and have fun! From our HeARTS to Yours!”
The Health and Wellness Community Service Program partners with REACH and a local food bank to deliver weekly food boxes to families living in motels, as well. These volunteers delivered 45 children’s bags and 17 bags for parents to families in motels, and another 25 bags will be used for future families residing in motels. Thirty of the bags were given to Passage Home to be distributed by case managers to children living in other transitional housing.
Club members said they are trying to make a difference one family at a time.
GFWC Battle Ground (Washington)
Members of GFWC Battle Ground (Washington) presented a $1,000 donation and several totes and bags full of young children’s clothing to the Family and Community Resource Center in Battle Ground, Washington, at the end of January. This center helps meet the needs of local families faced with housing instability and other economic challenges, and carries a limited inventory of new and gently used items to give to families in need. After the club learned of the need for specific sizes of boys and girls clothing, members staged a “tailgate meeting” as a drop-off place and time for donations. Additionally, since the club did not provide a scholarship this year due to COVID-19 school closures, those funds are being repurposed for other projects that will benefit children, such as the donation to the Family and Community Resource Center.
Another ongoing club project involves members cutting the fronts off greeting cards and shipping them to GFWC Affiliate Organization St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Nevada. The cards are reimagined into new creations and sold by a business run by the children to help them learn entrepreneurship. The ranch’s live-in venue gives kids of all ages an opportunity to break the cycle of abuse, abandonment, and neglect they have experienced. During the drop-off event, 255 cards were gathered for shipment.
GFWC Brunswick Woman’s Club (Georgia)
Members of GFWC Brunswick Woman’s Club (Georgia) spent Martin Luther King, Jr. Day helping out at the Glynn Community Crisis Center’s Amity House. Glynn Community Crisis Center provides comprehensive services to men and women who are survivors of domestic violence and their children, and their Amity House program provides safe emergency shelter and operates a 24-hour crisis hotline.
Club members Lillie Smith, Vicky Jefferis, Kay Taylor, and Kathleen Orians Dawson went to the house to clean, replace broken dresser knobs, rearrange furniture, and help in any other way they could, including washing kitchen items, making up beds, and more. A couple days later, Pat Porto, Jeanette Pewitt, and Penny Smith joined the others to bring more items the club purchased to help make the house feel like home. Although members Peggy Tuten and Angel Porch could not come along, they too sent items to be used at the house.
In addition to this, the members made other trips to help repair broken items, hang shelves, and do more work as needed. In total, the club donated 57 hours and more than $575 to the project.
GFWC Lexington Woman’s Club (South Carolina)
Clubwomen with GFWC Lexington Woman’s Club (South Carolina) made it a point this February to let those they love know it by participating in a Valentine’s Day project for first responders. This project saw a big turnout from members, who made more than 300 assorted Valentine’s Day cards. The cards were made by active club members, family members, neighborhood children, and some local school children who all wanted to show their appreciation. The cards were sorted into piles, bundled, and tied with red ribbon before being delivered.
One of the clubwomen with GFWC Lexington Woman’s Club who sews face masks also supplied about 170 masks that were included in the packages that were delivered to first responders. The packages also contained large bags of chocolates and individual snacks.
Three club members, along with two of their family members, delivered the packages to the Lexington Police Department and Fire Station No. 10. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the personnel at Fire Station No. 10 were tasked with distributing some of the packages to other local fire stations.
Club members said everyone had the chance to get in on the fun of creating!
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Growing up, Sandi Brill’s parents always demonstrated the importance of giving back to the community through volunteer work. Today, this dedication to serving others continues to be a significant part of Sandi’s life.
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.