An observer on April 28th around midmorning standing in the main entrance of our town’s Senior Center would have been witness to a beehive of activity as Suburban Woman’s Club members and helpers began their annual labor of love in setting up the organization’s Fashion Show and Luncheon. Tables were arranged, decorations tweaked, gift baskets brought in, food delivered – and the room transformed.
At one o’clock the entrance doors were opened and in less than an hour 150 ladies had made their way to the registration table, purchased tickets for the 50/50 drawing and then on to the south wall of the room where nine long rectangular tables were laden with an amazing array of 64 raffle baskets with wares ranging from designer pocketbooks, to garden tools, to bracelets, to gift cards and to many other interesting items, all beautifully arranged by Kathy Wozniak and her committee. Perpendicular to the baskets were the buffet tables with platters of seriously delicious sandwiches and salads from Hometown Heroes, overseen by Grace Bertucci and her committee.
President Diana Cotone welcomed members and guests and acknowledged dignitaries from New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Club’s College District. Cotone invited VP Jane Rundella to the podium and the proceedings were in full swing.
Rundella and her many committees working on this event coordinated the Club’s largest fundraiser whose main attraction is the fashions from Lord & Taylor of Westfield. Eight lovely ladies sported casual, business/daytime wear and evening dresses and the audience warmly applauded its approval for each one. After the dessert and coffee were served and all the baskets raffled, the 50/50 drawing was announced, and one lucky guest went home with $508!
It’s obvious that the Club pours much time and effort into the Fashion Show as well as the other two fundraising events, the G&G Boutique and the Theater Party. The reason became apparent at the Club’s May 2nd meeting held at the American Legion Hall. It is in May that members decide how to allocate funds raised during the year - how many scholarships to award; which charities to support; and how much to donate to CASA, the NJSFWC Special State Project. Readers of this column will remember that CASA trains volunteers to help children maneuver the state’s foster care system to eventually find a permanent and loving home.
The Club’s dedication to its fundraising allowed it to award four scholarships and donate to local and international charities which made the 27 members attending the meeting truly proud of their accomplishments. But this year’s May meeting was made even more special by the birthday bash held to honor the major milestone reached by three long-time members.
Cathy Wells, June Flannery and Grace Bertucci, whose charm, wit and dignity is always apparent, mark their ninetieth birthday this year. Happy Birthday was sung, delicious lunch and birthday cake were served, after which each birthday lady expressed her appreciation for her membership. Not surprisingly, they each felt they received much more than they ever could give to the Club.
Cathy Wells, who currently serves as Club Historian, is a font of Club lore and remembered that when she joined it was necessary for a prospective member to be sponsored, which is no longer the Club’s policy. June Flannery who served as Treasurer for many years, said that one thing has not changed. Members are still the same – women who dedicate so much to the Club to make a difference to the community and to those most vulnerable. Grace Bertucci, who serves as Membership Chair, has for many years managed the G&G Boutique each fall, this an upscale flea market which sells gently used jewelry, pocketbooks and other accessories. The ladies’ love for Suburban Woman’s Club was evident and heartwarming and inspired everyone in the room.
Wells, Flannery and Bertucci have belonged to a number of organizations and remain active and involved, which brings to mind studies which have shown that being part of a club has a positive impact on health and wellbeing, meaning longer life, which is similar to that of regular exercise -- according to research done at the University of Queensland in Australia. A good reason to become a member.
Motivated to join? Any woman of South Plainfield or the surrounding area is very welcome to become a member! Membership dues are $35 per year. Meetings are first Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. To learn more, please contact Membership Chair Grace Bertucci at 732-549-9633 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like them on Facebook!
The Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield is a member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs of GFWC. In addition to fundraising to award scholarships and support local charities, the Club offers its members programs on a wide variety of topics designed to instruct and entertain at each monthly meeting.