Volunteers in Action: Ousamequin Club and Clifton Community Woman’s Club
April 18, 2022
GFWC Celebrates Volunteers in Action Week
In honor of Volunteers in Action Week from April 17-23, GFWC is pleased to call attention to the Federation’s long and inspirational history, filled with stories of women who have been and continue to be dedicated to making their communities and the world a better place. Through these efforts, GFWC clubs often form long-term partnerships and work with various local organizations to develop projects with a lasting impact. Now, in recognition of Volunteers in Action Week and Federation Day on April 24, the 132nd anniversary of the organization’s founding, GFWC is celebrating these projects and the volunteer spirit of clubwomen everywhere with a special three-part blog series. Although we are shining an extra light on volunteers this week, GFWC is proud to share the stories of clubwomen making a positive impact every week.
For the past six years, members of the Ousamequin Club (Massachusetts) have been donating toiletry items to Project PACK, a nonprofit organization that assists survivors of sexual assault throughout the state by providing Post-Assault Comfort Kits. Jean Guarino, the club’s recording secretary, said these kits include items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, gum, underwear, and more. Currently, Project PACK collaborates with the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program to distribute the PACKs to the patients they treat.
Jean said she first learned about Project PACK during a club meeting and decided to do additional research. After learning more about the organization, the clubwomen knew they wanted to do what they could to help the women who had experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence.
Since then, Jean said members have continued to donate as much as they could throughout the years.
“We’re a small club, but they always bring in so much,” she said.
Jean explained it is always great for the club to form lasting relationships with other local organizations such as this as a way to stay connected with the community and to offer help in a more effective way. She added the clubwomen plan to continue supporting Project PACK for years to come.
Clifton Community Woman’s Club
Since 2018, clubwomen with the Clifton Community Woman’s Club (Virginia) have provided a monthly lunch to The Lamb Center, a daytime, drop-in shelter for homeless individuals and those in need.
Club President Karen Paris explained after the members learned about the shelter, they wanted to do everything in their power to help.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, members would provide a hot lunch for 800 to 100 guests at the shelter each month. However, due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, they switched to making a variety of sandwiches with fruits and vegetables, chips, a dessert, and a drink. Along with the food, many members have donated clothing items such as socks and underwear.
Karen noted that they are hoping to move back into preparing hot meals again as soon as possible.
“We do what we do because we want to give everybody the best life and chance we can,” she said.
In a given year, Karen said the contributions from clubwomen to The Lamb Center add up to more than 100 hours of service and $2,000 of in-kind and monetary donations.
She added it has been a wonderful experience to work with the shelter for so many years because the longer they offer their support, the more people they are able to help and the more the community as a whole benefits.
“People are always afraid to get started, but when you have a lot of people doing a little bit, it makes a difference,” she said.
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Lauren Smith said she loves being able to give back to her community and local school district as a member of GFWC Eupora New Century Club in Mississippi.
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 Polk County Service Club
GFWC Polk County Service Club (Oregon) served as the coordinators for the Polk County Fair Talent Contest. There were two divisions (Youth from age 3-12 and Young Adult from 13-19) with 17 contestants. Laurel Jones, Vice President of GFWC Polk County Service Club, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Parents, grandparents, and friends all came out to fill the audience and it was very well attended. One of the Judges was GFWC Oregon State President, Pam Briggs.