“If you’ve got five minutes or five hours…”
In January, I sat down with Manchester Women’s Club (MWC) President Karen Allies at the Mary Cheney Library. The MWC is a local chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Club, an international nonprofit community service organization. The Manchester chapter was reformed in 2018 by Grahame Slogesky. They meet on the second Tuesday of every month in the faculty lounge at Manchester High School. Zoom meetings are held if needed. The cost of membership is $30, but there are subsidies available.
Although COVID impacted membership numbers in 2020, this past year saw an increase. Karen describes the MWC as a service-oriented club with a social aspect. “We want members to be comfortable. Whether we’re working in town, they’re just going to book club or dinner club, working at Mac charities. We work there, the last Friday and Saturday of every month and when they need us throughout the month. Here is a the list of some of the things that we’ve done”:
The club is open to any woman 18 or older. You will find volunteers working the membership drive tables at open-air markets in Manchester. Last year they set up a table at the 2nd Saturdays Downtown. The Northwest Park Farmer’s Market will be added for 2022. During the week of Manchester Pride, the club will be at the town-wide tag sale.
Filling community needs is a primary focus of the MWC. Any member may bring an idea forward at a meeting; the members work hard to fulfill that need. According to Karen, “Currently, we’re doing a fill the purse project. We collect trials, travel-size supplies, put them in the purses, and we’re heading out to local shelters. The club has also made blankets for kids, either displaced through domestic reasons—fires, whatever the reason. When they show up at a shelter, they’ve got something to call their own. We’ve sent cards and collected packages for those that are deployed. We did Christmas cards and holiday cards for local health centers and nursing homes, including the caregivers. We’ve done Valentine’s for veterans.”
As committees form, different members step forward to chair each committee. One person handles fundraising; a small group runs the little free libraries around town.
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs initiative is children’s literacy. The MWC has seven free libraries around town to ensure that children in every neighborhood access literature. The Manchester Recreation Department built the libraries. The group replenishes the little free libraries using books collected at book drives and stored at a former elementary school.
Leadership consists of a president, vice president, secretary-treasurer, and assistant treasurer. Karen adds, “We gather monthly just for the structure, but overall, we’re very free-flowing. There’s a section set aside for the member moments at every meeting. What are your suggestions? What are your thoughts? What would you like to do? Here’s what we’ve seen that we think we need to do. Is anybody interested in heading this committee? So it’s very open flowing? But anything in the community, anything that anybody sees, if you’ve got five minutes or five hours, yeah, we will. We will take any help that you can offer.”
For more information follow this link to the MWC website:
To join follow this link for an application.
This was originaly posted a few months ago. The link didn’t work properly so I am re-posting in the hopes that it will work now.