From our President Stephanie Cantrell
“The only thing we should scream into the world is love.” ― Jill Telford
February 2020 is an exciting time. Many of you have already received your first COVID-19 vaccine! It looks like we are finally going to get past this pandemic. Good days are ahead. February is Heart Month, Black History Month, and Children Dental Health Month. Please wear red to our February meeting to bring awareness to Heart Month. Heart attacks are the #1 cause of death in women. The average age for a heart attack for a woman is 62, for men, it’s 42. The difference is that the men usu-ally survive their heart attack at 42. Women, however, are not as lucky at 62. Lower your risk by reducing your salt intake, monitoring your blood pressure, walking 10,000 steps a day, and eating lean meats.
January was Club Reporting month. A BIG thank you to all of you who reported your hours, turned in your photos, added up your donations, and wrote up your CSP activities. President-Elect, Donna Thomson, and I spent many hours together compiling this information. Thank you to everyone who answered your emails, calls, and texts from us as we completed the forms. I believe there were 18 reports in all turned in. All reports were sent in prior to the deadline! You are all super STARS!
Our Club’s Community Impact Project (CIP) is in full swing. Bay District Schools received a $500,000 “Insecure Neighbor” grant to secure housing for students who are “housing insecure” or homeless. Their first “insecure neighbor” family – mother, father, 11-year old girl, and a 3-month old infant – moved into their apartment the last week of January.
Our Club members have been moving fast and furiously, securing donations for household goods through the School District. Thank you to those who have already donated. Some items can be donated used, but mattresses and hygiene items should be new. We have not been able to secure a donation for a new queen or twin mattresses. If you know someone who can donate new mattresses, please call me or Ann Tyree.
VITA [Volunteer Income Tax Assistance] begins on February 2nd and ends April 15th at the Glenwood Community Center on 9th Court. (see below). Our Club has assisted with this program for many years. We are the greeters for this free income tax assistance program partially underwritten by United Way. COVID-19 protocols will be followed, including wearing a mask and physical distancing. If you have some time to volunteer on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, reach out to me or Jane Rigby. Hours are 9 AM to 3 PM. We work in groups of 4 and it’s more fun than work. Mileage is paid for by a grant through United Way; mileage reimbursements earned are donated to our Club for our general fund. Helping others, having fun, and raising money at the same time is a win-win.
Last month, the GFWC Emerald Coast Junior Woman’s Club posted on their Facebook page about our Civic Engagement & Outreach CSP’s “Clothing Closet” project at four local Elementary Schools. A woman in Freeport saw that post and rallied her neighbors to donate. Wow! We received a huge response to the request. Shantel Dixon, the Junior Woman’s Club President, called me to assist with the pickup. We took one extended cab pick-up truck, a minivan, and an SUV to pick up the donations. It was not enough! After we did some extra rearranging and consolidating, we managed to get on the road with all the items. WMBB came to the pickup site and covered the event. See the news story on our Facebook page.
Thank you for all your love and support my first 6 months as YOUR President.
I could not have gotten through it all without you! Caroline
UPDATE: It is a new Club year for us and the Florida GFWC.
Almost all of our CSPs or Commutinued and its members have joined other departments. To acquaint you with the new CSPs, you will see their mission as part of their report this month. Any member can be a part of more than one CSP. If you are interested, please reach out to the Coordinator/Contact person for that department.
V ITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited Eng-lish-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. This year, VITA services are offered at the Glenwood Community Center, 722 E. 9th Court from 9AM to 3 PM Tuesday-Thursday through April 15th. Last year’s Bay County VITA sites processed over 3,000 income tax returns and helped return a total of $3 million back into our local economy. Our Club volunteers helped to make that hap-pen! This service is definitely needed this year. If you can help even for a few hours a week, please reach out to Jane Rigby or Caroline Windham. For more information, go to http://unitedwaynwfl.org/VITA
DATE CHANGE for the GFWC Florida District 2 Arts & Crafts District Meeting & Competition:
Saturday, March 20th
This year’s event is hosted by the GFWC Wewahitchka Woman’s Club. It’s always fun and a great opportunity to meet Woman’s Club members from across the District plus you will see how our Club’s first place Arts & Crafts winners fare against the other Clubs’ winners. Tickets are $15 per person and include light breakfast and box lunch. Registration and breakfast open at 9:00; the Business Meeting starts at 10:00. The Judging and lunch follow. We will carpooling. See Gerry Wilson, the GFWC District 2 Club President) or Stephanie Cantrell for registrations forms and information.
ARTS & CULTURE formerly Arts CSP
Meeting on Thursday, February 25th at 10:00 AM at Shelli Hampton’s home
Contact: Shelli Hampton or Anna Westbrook
TThe Arts & Culture CSP met on Thursday, January 28th, at “The Press” downtown for our monthly meeting. We all had fun seeing each other and plan-ning our next events – even though it was a bit noisy at times! We enjoyed the coffee and crepes and missed our members who were unable to attend. We made plans for our next project: Art in a Bag – a DIY project for the Anchorage Children’s Home that we will prep at our next meeting. We voted on increasing our contribution to the Paul Brent Youth Art Contest, as well as providing addition-al assistance with the contest. We made tenta-tive plans to help with our Club-wide CIP project when we get additional guidance. / Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 25th at 10:00 AM at Shelli Hampton’s home. Jane Linn and Shirley Buddi will be hostesses.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT & OUTREACH, (CEO)
Meeting on Wednesday, February 10th at 11:30 AM – Location TDB
Contact: Stephanie Cantrell
CEO will meet on Wednesday, February 10th at 11:30 AM. A location has yet to be decided. /Our Coordinator, Stephanie Cantrell had ankle surgery and may be off her feet for a while but our CEO members have been busy. We have already deliv-ered clothes to Cedar Grove Elementary School. We also have items to donate to the local Pregnancy Resource Center. / Now, thanks to our Club members and some very generous folks in Freeport, we have a new mountain of children’s clothes to be sorted for the Clothes Closets at four local elementary schools. We are so grateful for help received from the GFWC Emerald Coast Junior Woman’s Club. President Shantel Dixon’s Facebook post was the impetus for the Freeport area donation! (See the President Report on page 2) / Every year, we looked for-ward to February to host our wonderful Valentine’s Luncheon for our WWI and Korean War veterans. This year, that isn’t possible but we will be ready next year.
EDUCATION & LIBRARIES,
Meeting on Monday, February 22nd at 11:30 AM at Olive Garden
Contact: Cheryl Wisner or Pamela Klinert
Our CSP did not meet in January but we are meeting this month on Monday, February 22nd, 11:30 AM at the Olive Garden. / Thanks to all of you, the Buddy Bench project for Girls, Inc. is nearing completion. Only 50 pounds of bot-tle tops and plastic lids are needed out of the 250 pounds required to make the bench. / The Education CSP will host the March 4th General Membership Meeting with or without the Luncheon. We will also hold a 50/50 drawing and door prize giveaway . / Some of our members will be volunteering again with the VITA program. / In April 2019, retired Sheriff Frank McKeithen installed the Little Free Library he built for the Club on behalf of the Education and Libraries CSP. Re-cently, he noted the Library was in need of a touch up, so he has just completed its rejuve-nation last month. The Library is back up and full of books for the community. Thank you, Sheriff McKeithen! / Our January Star of the Month is Rita Acoba, recognizing all that she has done for the CSP, the Club, and to help out the CSP Coordinators. Thank you, Rita!
ENVIRONMENTMeeting 4th Tuesday,
Meeting on Tuesday, February 23rd at 10:00 AM at Grace Presbyterian Church
Contact: Almeda Huffaker or Cheryl Picken
We cancelled our January 26th meeting until more people can get their vaccine. / On Florida Arbor Day, we planted two crepe myrtles trees at the Club House. These trees are in memory of two beloved and inspiriting chairwoman of the then Conservation Department, Pat Fenaes and Charmian Cretney. We also planted three camellia bushes in the front yard. / Our next meeting on Tuesday, February 23rd, will be at Grace Presby-terian Church, room 202 at 10:00 AM. All are welcomed to join us. / Now that the Bay County Incinerator is closed and our trash is going to landfills, consider recycling. Edu-cation & Libraries CSP’s plastic tops collection is an excellent example of how small steps can make a big difference!
HEALTH & WELLNESS
TIME & PLACE CHANGE: Meeting on Wednesday,
February 24th at 2:00 PM at the Clubhouse
Contact: Verna Payne
Our fingers are crossed for Paula Bunch to win more ribbons at the March District Arts & Crafts Competition. Verna Payne won an Honorable Mention at the Club level too. / At our January meeting, we decided to change our meeting time to 2pm and meet at the Clubhouse. We also welcomed Sherry Melton who told us all about her work with Rooms With A Purpose. With help from commu-nity volunteers including some of our Club members, she fulfills the bedroom makeover wishes of critically ill or disabled children. Truly inspiring work! / Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 24th, at a different time and location, 2:00 PM at the Clubhouse. Please join us!
DATE CHANGE: Meeting on Wednesday, February 10th at 6:00 PM at the Clubhouse
Contact: Jane Rigby or Kathy Mills
The January Youth CSP meeting was cancelled because of the increase of Covid cases in Bay County, but our work continued. We are so proud of our Club’s effort to help those less fortunate in our community and for our CSP members who make such a difference!
First, we want to recognize Youth CSP member and Attorney Cecile Scoon’s Florida Pro Bono Ser-vice Award by the Florida Supreme Court for the 14th Judicial Circuit Court! Read more about this great honor and her important work on Amendment 4 and felons’ voting rights restoration at https://bit.ly/3tcKWlj. Accolades well deserved! / We donated children’s coats to Coats for Children program and children’s clothes for the elementary schools’ Clothes Closets. We thank Donna Thompson and Stephanie Cantrell for distributing the clothes to these programs. / The Starbucks store near Pier Park received donations of food from its customers. Two boxes of food were given to the Youth CSP which we donated to the Bay District Schools’ Food Pantry. / Three of our members are volunteering to help with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) as intake receptionists. / As part of our Club’s Community Impact Project (CIP), our CSP has been sup-porting the Bay County School District’s “Insecure Neighbors” program to provide housing vouchers and household items to homeless/housing insecure families with school-aged children. This program aims to help these families regain housing stability and economic self-sufficiency, and help their children remain on track with their education. Jane Rigby and Ann Tyree met with Melanie Spoon, a School Social Worker for Bay District Schools responsible for the housing grant. She was glad to report that another Pathway Home Program housing voucher was given to a sin-gle mom with an 11-year old girl. She is currently looking for a place to rent and is hoping she will be able to move in February. They need new twin and queen mattress and box springs (bed frames are in storage), sheets and blankets for both beds (the girl likes “girly colors”), dressers, a couch, and housewares. Prior to our February meeting, our CSP agreed to give them a $250 gift card to help buy what they need to get started. (Also see The President’s Report on page 2 for more about our Club’s participation) / Lastly, we changed our February meeting date from the 4th week of the month to Wednesday, February 10th, at 6 PM. BYO food. It’s always fun and informative!