GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club adapts charity work to pandemic conditions

About two dozen pairs of socks, some filled with candy and toiletries, were delivered to Recovery Point Rehabilitation Center for their residents as part of a program in 2020 by the Parkersburg Woman’s Club. From left, Judy Parrish of the club and R.J. Jones, program manager. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — In spite of the pandemic, GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club has continued to work on projects for the community while protecting the safety and health of members.

Membership Chairman Patty Miser began the year with a drive-by Dues Tea, allowing 96 members to pay dues and obtain information without leaving their vehicles.

As the year progressed, in an attempt to reach members who did not feel comfortable meeting in person, President Jayne Whitlow began live-streaming meetings on the club’s private Facebook page until December when the virus halted all in-person meetings.

With so much other entertainment curtailed, the Education and Libraries Community Service Project chaired by Susan Gardner and Jane Hardman has found that the eight Little Free Libraries are being heavily used. These continue to be refilled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and crayons and coloring books were added for Christmas.

In addition to the libraries, the committee also established the first laundromat library in West Virginia and continues to regularly stock it.

From left, Linda Walker and Judy Parrish at the Woman’s Club gift wrap station at the Grand Central Mall. (Photo Provided)

In July, Kathy Roedersheimer, chairman of the Domestic Violence Prevention project, assembled items for 20 Assault Survivor Kits, presenting them and a $125 donation to the Family Crisis Intervention Center. Kits include toiletries, a notebook, undergarments and a sweat shirt and pants.

The Environment Community Service Project under the leadership of Jane Pritchard and Janie Grimm met in December to prepare 16 containers of milkweed seeds that need winter weather to germinate. In the spring, they will be planted in a butterfly garden at the Wood County Library.

Fundraising, an integral part of the club’s mission, under the leadership of Second Vice-President Jody Stewart began with the sale of 235 autumn mums.

An “out of the box” project under the leadership of Carmen Hathaway was the sale of jams, jellies, candy, and popcorn at the Cardinal Market in Grand Central Mall from October to December. This project not only raised needed funds, but also heightened awareness of our club in the community.

Another annual fundraiser was the sale of poinsettias, wreaths, swags and charms, netting a profit of more than $1,000, in addition to the sale of Terri Lynn Nuts.

The final fundraiser before Christmas was a gift wrap station in Grand Central Mall from Dec. 7 through Christmas Eve. While the virus caused traffic at the mall to be lighter than usual, gift wrappers worked hard to exceed the COVID-reduced goal.

Other community projects led by Hathaway and the Civic Engagement Community Service Project included working at the Holiday in the Park light display, filling Christmas socks with toiletries, candies and socks for veterans and the residents of Recovery Point, and laying a wreath at the Veterans’ Memorial in City Park on Veterans Day.

The Health and Wellness Community Service Project, led by Linda Taylor, operates the Brown Bag food program for two area schools, and recently received a grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation for $6,085. In addition, a generous gift of $2,000 from New Hope Baptist Church will assure continuation of the vital program.


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