The Gloucester County Women’s Club is making the holiday season brighter this year by adopting three local families in need, collecting food for local pantries and hosting a holiday party for families who have a child with cancer.
“We are a group of women who want to get out in the community and help,” said Mary Schneider, vice president and membership chair for the group. “We are looking for personal enrichment, bonding with members of the club and making friends.”
The club gives back to the community year ‘round, with monthly food donation collections and fundraisers. But its efforts multiply during the holiday season, with a special focus on the adoptions.
A small branch of the club joined the county-wide group in 2015, and brought with it the idea to adopt the families. It began raising money through their Adopt a Family raffle in March. All 2,000 tickets were sold out, allowing for a $200 spending budget for each of the children adopted this year. Parents also get a gift under the tree.
Some of the funds raised will be used to donate $100 gift cards to families in the Clearview school district and already helped the creation of stockings for troops. A few members of the club came together last month to knit the stockings by hand and fill them with items the troops need.
“We give each family a paper for their children to fill out,” Schmeider explained. “Members will volunteer to shop for the children, and if they need a winter coat or pants, we have their size. Mothers Matter donates gift bags they would give to moms all throughout the year, with toiletries and other necessities in them … This year, they can help the dads and an uncle in need.”
The club partnered with the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation to throw a holiday party for the families of kids with cancer on Dec. 10. The event was held at Glassboro’s Masso’s Catering, which graciously donated its building and food. Volunteers helped with games and activities; there was also music and the holiday debut of Santa.
The foundation was started more than 30 years ago to provide services to families with a child who has cancer, including cleaning and transportation. According to Schneider, the foundation will also be the state project for three women’s clubs in New Jersey, including the Gloucester county group. That means the clubs will volunteer with the foundation all year long.
“It’s a nice organization to support because it’s statewide and willing to help anyone,” Schneider explained. “This event is great, because it helps to make their holidays more festive and the families can meet each other and bond.”
Other volunteer opportunities for the club include helping to decorate the tree at the Magic of Christmas celebration on Dec. 17, an event sponsored by the Washington Township Historic Commission, and collection of food for the Pitman Pantry and Mothers Cupboard in Washington Township.
“We are a community organization and we will help wherever there is need,” Schneider pointed out. “We are a nonprofit and we have to raise money to do these things.”
The women’s club is always looking for new members; interested parties can email email@example.com.