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We celebrate 80 years in the life of the organization, Woman’s Club of St. Matthews. Yes, we use the word “life”, as our club is alive, continually active and evolving with the times.
What are we really celebrating and WHY?
In 1938 a group of ladies joined together with a vision to make an impact on their community. A community not defined by city boundaries, as the City of St. Matthews is actually only been incorporated since 1950, but an undefined area called community. A place where family, neighbors and friends interacted together while shopping, attending church, or at local schools and area functions.
These women thought beyond their individual needs, and dreamed of what could be done together to improve, to serve, and to preserve their community for the benefit of all.
These founding women pulled together resources to form the Woman’s Club of St. Matthews on April 7,1938, and rolled up their sleeves together to make things happen, and happen it did.
[efaccordion id=”01″] [efitems title=” Read More” text=”The Woman’s Club of St. Matthews not only grew in membership but so did their projects and goals. Not just local projects that would benefit the community, but projects beyond, causes that would ultimately benefit their state, and as club history shows, projects promoted across these United States, all the way to the attention of the White House. It seems that nothing was too challenging to tackle when these members of the Woman’s Club of St. Matthews came together to address a cause.
It is amazing to know that in the first 2 years of organization, the Woman’s Club of St. Matthews helped establish the first St. Matthews branch of the Louisville Free Public library system. Just 2 years later clubwomen started a kindergarten at Greathouse School, now the St. Matthews City Hall building, where forty children attended the first class.
During the war times of the early 1940’s Ever member was engaged in the war effort. Over $11,000 in bonds and war stamps were sold during just a three month period by clubwomen. We should note that the average yearly income in 1941 was $1,750. In addition, our club members equipped a large day room for soldiers at Bowman Field and participated in the county-wide scrap metal drive. During the mid 1940’s, where the average yearly income had risen to $2,400, new houses cost $4,600, and new cars cost $ 1,020, our members concentrated on all phases of war service and sold over one million dollars in war bonds. To honor the soldiers of our community who lost their lives in the war, the Woman’s Club members involved themselves in obtaining the land for the memorial shaft that currently stands on the triangle, at the split of Lexington and Frankfort Avenues.
In the early 1950’s, it seemed our nation might be drawn into the Korean conflict and people began to hoard food. The Woman’s Club of St. Matthews launched a curb hoarding campaign. The Courier-Journal liked the idea and provided pledge slips which were mailed over the entire country. This program was so effective that the Woman’ Club of St. Matthews received a letter of commendation from the White House. By the mid 50’s, the Woman’s Club started the Junior Student Service Center. This was a joint community program shared with the, then, Lyndon Woman’s Club. It provided summer jobs for boys twelve to sixteen years of age. Many business places were contacted by our club members and the response was great. Over 300 boys were placed in jobs the first year.
During the 60’s & 70’s The clubwomen voted to adopt The Sidney Eline Library as a sustaining project. Our club contributed to it both financially and with many volunteer hours. A three-day Home Preparedness Workshop for the St. Matthews Community was given and sponsored by the Civil Defense Department. The Woman’s Club became the first in the district to promote the use of seat belts in vehicles. In the mid 70’s the club sponsored the Potato Queen contest for the St. Matthews Jaycees. The purpose of reviving the old Potato Festival was to raise funds with which to purchase the St. Matthews Community Center, which is used by so many today. To address the needs of local seniors, our club, with over $500 from individual members, along with $500 from the Lions Club, decorated and furnished carpeting and furniture for a Senior Citizens lounge in Harvey Browne Church.
In the early 1980’s Clubwomen, in cooperation with the Jefferson County Board of Health, visited a number of local schools in the interest of a mosquito control program. The club received an award for this work.
Over the years, our clubwomen contributed to the community with projects of all kinds, both large and small, including lap robes and baby blankets knitted for nursing home patients and St. Matthews Area Ministries. Participated in various programs to benefit domestic violence victims throughout Kentucky and the local Center for Women and Families shelter. Our club brought awareness of child abuse to the public with a 200 pinwheel garden and banner display on the lawn at our local Bethel-St. Paul Church.
We have supported the St. Matthews Fire Department with training and life saving equipment, the St. Matthews Police Department with items to comfort children during a crisis, and contributed to the St. Matthews Little League to start a Bambino Buddy Ball League for the handicapped. Other financial donations include St. Matthews Elementary School to purchase chrome Book computers for the children, and to the schools music department for the children’s musical productions. Clubwomen supported the Louisville Children’s Traveling Museum, Home of the Innocents, March of Dimes, Trooper Island, and other worthy organizations. Members have collected empty pill bottles for Haiti for hospitals to use to dispense pills, made quilts and gowns donated to the international organization, Operation Smile, mailed to Iraq items such as coloring books and crayons to be distributed at medical centers where Iraqi adults come to see doctors and U.S. soldiers volunteer to help entertain the children, and other worthy causes.
Currently, like our founders before us, the clubwomen of the Woman’s Club of St. Matthews, continue to look for ways to support, encourage, educate and serve our community. We continue with a financial commitment of a $500 monthly donation to St. Matthews Area Ministries, to assist with their food pantry and other children and family services. Ongoing is the monthly volunteering of clubwomen to Supplies Over Seas, to sort discarded medical supplies for use in areas all over the world. Clubwomen and guests have enjoyed free informative and entertaining programs such as; a history lesson and private performance by 10 members of the Louisville Dulcimer Society, and speakers who addressed topics such as UPS and their role in international trade, Diabetes and its effects on individuals and our community, Visually Impaired Preschool Services and how visually impaired children and their families in Kentucky and Indiana are served, and the struggles of mental illness brought to light by local military veteran and author, Ms. Carolyn Furdek.
Our club members and guests continue to sew gowns for Operation Smile, created mini florals for distribution through our local Senior Care Experts, to their homebound seniors and those with disabilities who receive Senior Care Experts daily meal deliveries. In addition, the clubwomen, including some grandchildren, create Care Cards by individually decorating 3×5 card stock, which are donated to Senior Care Experts to deliver with meals throughout the year. These cards serve to reach out to those homebound citizens in our community, who may feel forgotten, to know that someone is thinking of them.
Not to be left out, our members choose to support our four legged friends in our community by collecting card board tubes, such as those found in paper towels or toilet tissue, and donating them to the local Humane Society and Metro Animal Shelter, where they are filled with peanut butter and other healthy ingredients, then frozen to create chew and play toys for the animals awaiting a good home. Over 5,000 tubes were donated last year and it looks to well exceed that amount this year.
To serve our veterans, who have served to protect us, our club chose to reach out to our local Veteran’s Hospital Psych unit to provide women veterans, in their care, with needed personal and recreational items. Our club additionally selected Athena Sisters, a women’s veterans group, as our charity to receive monies toward the groups Christmas celebration.
At Christmas our clubwomen donated non-perishable food items, toiletries and household cleaning items, for seniors. Many of whom have to manage on very limited finances. Our members were more than generous and donated enough to fill a passenger van.
We have partnered with the children at St. Matthews Elementary in collecting plastic caps which will ultimately provide a seating bench, or two, for the new Children’s Garden at the newly expanded St. Matthews Eline Library, which we are very excited about. Our clubwomen are passionate about education, especially among our up and coming youth. They are our future. Therefore, we have a significant college scholarship program.
So at this celebration, we do not just congratulate the clubwomen of today, who are carrying the torch forward and creating Woman’s Club history for future generations of women, but we celebrate, the fore thinking, courageous and strong women of the first 80 years, who passed forward to each new generation this torch, the torch of responsibly of service to community, and to country. “][/efaccordion]
We Celebrate, the Woman’s Club of St.Matthews, 80 years strong, moving forward, and We are just getting started!
THE 80TH PROGRAM
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ENJOYING THE EVENT
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THE VENUE AT HURSTBOURNE COUNTRY CLUB
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The Woman’s Club of St. Matthews was instrumental in founding the St. Matthews Sydney Eline Library, and over the years has contributed funding, volunteer hours, and items to benefit library patrons. Our clubwomen have always been passionate about education.
So in honor of our club’s 80th, the Woman’s Club of St. Matthews, gave a special gift in remembrance of our founding clubwomen, to the City of St. Matthews, in the form of a contribution of $1,000, to the New St. Matthews Sydney Eline Library expansion project.
WCSM President Mary Jo Nay presents the woman’s club $1,000 check to Mayor Richard Tonini at a City of St. Matthews council meeting.
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View a list of WCSM upcoming programs and events. Click Here
Learn more about General Federation of Women’s Clubs
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GFWC International Click Here