The Woman’s Club of St. Matthews had an eventful year of service, support and education. At the same time we included some fun and sisterhood, as we continued to encourage each other through our walk in life together.
Service is a foundational element of General Federation of Women’s Clubs, (GFWC), therefore, our clubwomen strive to continually build on this strong foundation. This year was no exception.
To serve our local area, club members collected various items throughout the year.
- A collection of 4794 cardboard tubes, from toilet tissues and paper towel roll were donated to the Kentucky Humane Society shelter in St. Matthews and the Louisville Metro Animal shelter, who use the tubes to create chew and play toys for the dogs and cats in their care.
- Six one-gallon milk jugs of aluminum can tabs, weighting 20.5 pounds, were donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana in support of their mission to provide a home-away-from-home for families of children receiving healthcare at area medical facilities.
- Box Tops for Education from food and beverage labels were collected and donated to St. Matthews Elementary where the school redeems them for money to buy school supplies benefitting their students.
Service to our senior and disabled community is at the heart of our members and therefore, our clubwomen teamed up with a local senior care provider, Senior Care Experts, (SCE), to provide Care Cards to their homebound clients.
Care Cards are 3 x 5 white card stock to which our members decorate one side with uplifting graphics and messages. Graphics range from cheerful stickers to small works of personal artistry, while messages range from holiday wishes to everyday greetings. In some instances, grandchildren of club members contributed their time and talents. Care Cares, totaling 1157 were supplied to SCE, in groups of approximately 130, matching the approximate number of daily meals delivered to SCE clients. SCE selects a random day, of their choosing, and includes one Care Card with each meal delivered. The purpose of this project is to bring a smile and an uplifted spirit to a homebound citizen, and to emphasize that others throughout the community have not forgotten them.
Additionally through our partnership with SCE, clubwomen met to create mini artificial floral arrangements in the Christmas holiday theme, using small recycled containers as the vase. These arrangements were packaged individually and donated to SCE, and as was done with the Care Cards, SCE selected a random day of their choice, and included one mini floral arrangement with each meal delivered.
Regionally, clubwomen initiated a project to benefit women veterans receiving care in the psychological unit at the regional Veterans Hospital. Through investigation, our club learned that these women were in great need of some basic items, such as panties, bras, generic reading eyeglasses and t-shirts. Additional items were also on their undocumented wish list, such as jigsaw puzzles, theme writing books, adult coloring books and colored pencils. Our clubwomen were more than generous in serving these women veterans, who had stepped into military service to protect our country. All, and more than what was needed, was provided through personal donations from individual club members, and the shrewd bargain shopping of the project chairman, Renee Fennigan, using the clubs allotted funds. This project was a huge success. The clubs Executive Board, along with the project chairman, personally presented the items to the patients at the VA hospital, where many a sincere thank you could be heard, melting the hearts of the clubwomen present. This project made such an impact on our entire membership that our club has resolved to make similar projects a yearly mission.
International service, helping the needy throughout the world, is at the heart of the clubwomen who volunteered 174 hours throughout 2017 at Supplies Over Seas, (SOS), which is a Louisville, Kentucky-based Medical Surplus Recovery Organization, one of just fifteen organizations of its kind across the United States. The only recovery organization of its type in the immediate region. Twice each month a volunteer group of clubwomen worked a two-hour session at the SOS location, sorting and or folding various medical items and packing them, as assigned by the SOS staff, on each particular day. The SOS Mission is to meet the critical healthcare needs around the world with surplus medical supplies and equipment that would otherwise go to the landfill. SOS relies on the generosity of donors and volunteers. SOS receives no government funding and 95% of the materials SOS receives are donated, repurposed, or recycled.
To further International support, club members sewed smile gowns for Operation Smile, as had been done in previous years. Operation Smile is a nonprofit international medical service organization founded in 1982, who provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries, among other services. This is always a fun project and rewarding to know that small children, in need of medical attention, are being cared for.
Support of community efforts is imperative to our clubwomen. Therefore, this year, our clubwomen –
- continued the monthly financial support, totaling $6,000, to St. Matthews Area Ministries who provides families and individuals with immediate emergency relief through services of food, housing, financial, medical and emotional support,
- donated preemie sleepers to benefit St. Jude Research Hospital,
- collected socks to be distributed to domestic shelters for women and children.
- purchased t-shirts from the Kentucky March of Dimes to allow them to reach a milestone goal for recognition throughout the United States,
- contributed, through membership, to the Historic Nunnlea House in Jefferson County Kentucky, in support of its preservation,
- collected non-perishable food items, toiletries, and household projects for the senior and disabled community
WCSM is a federated organization, a member of General Federation of Woman’s Clubs, (GFWC), and therefore works to support the organization on both the state and international levels. WCSM is located in GFWC KY Third District and extended its support through –
- making a financial contribution to the Juvenile Diabetes Association in support of the GFWC Juniors project,
- contributing recipes, purchasing and selling GFWC KY fundraiser cookbooks,
- collecting for the GFWC KY Third District Fall Conference, women’s panties and bras to be donated to women veterans who are inpatients at the local Veterans Hospital,
- rallying behind, both financially and in spirit, Third District Queen for a Day candidate, Ms. Carol Russell from Shively Woman’s Club, as a fundraiser to support building maintenance at the GFWC KY headquarters, located in Frankfort, Kentucky. Note that Ms. Russell was not awarded Queen for a Day at the GFWC KY Conference, but she was a most humorous and gracious candidate.
Education and the pursuit of it, is vital to continued personal growth at any age. Our clubwomen value education of all kinds and support the importance of it. This year our clubwomen –
- awarded $6,000 in college scholarships to three local high school seniors,
- presented informative and enlightening programs, open to the public, which included –
The Louisville Dulcimer Society history and music,
Speaker Ms.. Carolyn Furdek author of the book – Locked In-A Soldiers & Civilian’s Struggle with Invisible Wounds,
Technology – How to use today’s devises,
UPS- International Trade Among Us.
Over the past 79 years of our clubs existence, clubwomen always find ways to have fun and encourage each other. This year was no exception. Fun times abounded with our yearly combination celebration of Federation & Kentucky Derby Day, where we included raffles of small items in support of the Third District GFWC KY Queen for the Day candidate, along with a club membership Derby themed decorated table centerpiece contest. In keeping with Derby tradition a Win, Place, and Show drawing was held for those in attendance.
The club’s 79th birthday was held in conjunction with the college scholarship awards and was enjoyed by clubwomen as well as scholarship award recipients and guests. The club held a luncheon, and naturally served for dessert, a birthday cake.
Our Open House was well attended this year by current clubwomen and 15 guests. Table displays depicting all aspects of club life including – past workshops, field trips, programs, celebrations, GFWC KY information, extended club activities, standing club projects, and future club plans were about the room. Each guest was greeted by a clubwoman and walked through each display to allow the guest to see what the Woman’s Club is all about, and to allow our guest to ask questions. After the tour, each clubwoman offered to sit and eat a bite of lunch with each guest. This gives the guest and clubwoman an opportunity to get to know one another. We have found in the past that this manner is very effective. As a result, seven of the guests applied immediately for club membership, while an additional three guests applied in the months following. This was a very successful event for our club’s growth. We look forward to next years Open House.
In May, ten of our clubwomen attended the GFWC KY Conference in Louisville were each networked with other clubwomen throughout the state. Three of our clubwomen were recognized at the conference with awards for their entries in GFWC KY contests. A fun time was had, as WCSM provided one of the games for Carnival Night at the conference, which benefited St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children. Our club provided a Halo Toss game where rings were tossed over the head of a winged cherub statue. Successful players received an entry chance into a drawing to win a $25 Wal-Mart gift card.
In November, three of our club members traveled to attend the GFWC Regional (SER) Conference in Hebron Kentucky, where GFWC KY was the host state. GFWC presented a Certificate of Merit to WCSM clubwoman, Ms. Fran Evola, for her second place finish in the GFWC International photography contest. We are very proud of Fran for receiving this prestigious award.
At this year’s Third District Fall Conference five of our clubwomen went above and beyond with their entries in the Arts, Crafts and Photography contest. As a result WCSM clubwomen brought home 35 of the 64 awards presented. Of the 35 awards, 12 were for first place, therefore, these 12 will move forward to the GFWC KY Conference contest in 2018. We wish each of them future success.
To round out the year on a fun note, our clubwomen celebrated the Christmas holiday with an elegant luncheon, created and coordinated by Chairman Judy Mayfield, at the Historic Nunnlea House. Members enjoyed homemade food and desserts, participated in an auction for charity, were amused by a fun gift game, and exchanged Christmas and Holiday cards. A special collection of nonperishable food items and toiletries, from attending clubwomen, was had to benefit seniors and disabled persons in our community through our local SCE. Again our clubwomen rose to the occasion to fill an entire passenger van with the collection.
These are just the highlights of 2017. It is the goal of the WCSM clubwomen to make 2018 an even more successful year of service, support and education, and of course, we will sprinkle it all with fun.