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For more than five decades a group of South County women has raised tens of thousands of dollars and volunteered countless hours to help other non-profit organizations and needy individuals in the community. This month Jim Hummel sits down with several members - and recipients - to learn more about the club’s motto: Living the Volunteer Spirit.
Click here for more information about the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of South County.
SFrom a horse rescue operation in Saunderstown, to the restoration of an historic grist mill in South Kingstown; to a rolling library run by volunteers and a home repair program that helps elderly residents stay in their homes - the impact has been deep and wide across the southern part of Rhode Island the past five decades.
These programs and many more are all supported by The General Federation of Women’s Clubs of South County, part of a worldwide federation founded in 1890 with a focused mission of improving local communities and the lives of women through volunteer service. Their motto: Live The Volunteer Spirit.
Last year the South County chapter, which was founded more than 50 years ago, quietly distributed $18,000 in grants to nearly two dozen non-profit organizations, supplemented by hundreds of hours of volunteer work from close to 90 club members.
Crane: ``All of our members are required to, and do, give of themselves. So to be a member you have to be willing to roll up the sleeves and help.’’
Diana Crane joined the club more than 15 years ago and is the chairman of the GROW Hope committee, which decides annually which grants to award.
Crane: ``The last couple of years we’ve had people applying, which are triple the amount of money we have. I have a spreadsheet, I put it all on, brief description of each of the organizations and what they’re asking for; and then we sit down, very democratically, and discuss and kind of barter a bit until we get it down to the number we have to have.’’
The grants falls into four major categories:
The Arts, Conservation, Education and Social Services.
Locally the club has supported Horseplay, a rescue organization that has taken in dozens of abused, neglected and unwanted, horses, letting them live out their lives in Saunderstown.
The club also contributed to the South Kingstown Land Trust to help restore The historic Samuel Perry Grist Mill, which produces cornmeal to make Rhode Island’s own johnnycakes.
Also receiving support: Neighbors Helping Neighbors, based in Charlestown that makes repairs for low-income and elderly residents of South County, who might not otherwise be able to stay in their homes. Neighbors covers everything, including materials and labor.
Kubricky :``In the beginning I was just fascinated there was this woman’s club and it was a bunch of nice women who were doing good things for the town. Then I researched it more and found out that it went back to the 1800s as an international organization and the things the club did were absolutely amazing.’’
Tracy Kubricky is the co-chair of the club’s primary fundraiser: an annual Book and Author Luncheon at the Dunes Club in Narragansett - this past summer it drew 300 people and raised more than $20,000.