Comment

History Corner - Charles Dickens and The Woman's Club

Charles Dickens and the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto

Charles Dickens died in 1870. What then was his connection to our Club
which was founded in 1894? The
answer: Dickens provided the stimulus for the creation of our parent organization, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC). In 1869, Charles Dickens was invited to speak at a banquet given by the New York City Press Club. Tickets to this event were a hot item. Women, however, were not invited to attend. This infuriated female journalists.

It particularly infuriated Jane Cunningham Croly who had been a professional journalist for over 40 years, had served on the editorial boards of several New York City newspapers and was the first female journalist to be syndicated nationally. Her reaction to this snub was to form a club, called Sorosis, for female journalists only. Unfortunately, no one would rent meeting space to the group as it was deemed improper for women to appear in public without a male companion. A room above Delmonico’s Restaurant in the Village was finally secured and Sorosis met there for 21 years.

Croly realized that groups of women across the nation were forming clubs for suffrage, temperance, civic reform, gardening and literature. She invited 100 of them to a conference in New York City. In 1890, representatives of 63 clubs met and formed the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Their goal: To allow women of diverse interests to gather outside the home for self-education and personal development.

On June 20, 1894, 2,935.4 miles away from the Sorosis Club, twenty-four women met to form the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto. They adopted a constitution, elected o cers and dedicated themselves to “Self Improvement, Mutual Help and Community Work.” The Woman’s Club of Palo Alto joined the GFWC in 1898 and the California Federation of Women’s Clubs (CFWC) in 1900.

What would Charles Dickens have made of all this?

– Margaret R. Feuer

Comment

Comment

Outreach gets personal!

In October 2010, Chris Cantor, the director of Haven Family House, spoke at our monthly luncheon.  He explained to us Haven's residential program for families which includes not only a place to live but job search help and an on-site Child Development Center for homeless families.  Chris brought with him a woman who graduated from the Haven program and was employed at Trader Joe's in Palo Alto, living independently with her two boys.  Members of the Outreach committee wanted to thank this brave woman for her candor, and we purchased a gift card. 

We have continued our bond with this strong woman who occasionally needs a helping hand.   Sue Krumbein is the personal contact; the rest of us are anonymous donors.  When help is needed for --- that new pair of jeans because her boys are growing so quickly, an unexpected car repair so mom can get to work, soccer shoes so her son can play on the HS team --- members of Outreach have assisted with Safeway gift cards.  The requests for help are not often, but for someone living at the edge of financial stability, it is a lifeline.

Last week we received a card thanking us.  She remarks that, "I thought I was done asking for help, but everything keeps getting higher except my income.  My income doesn't cover my food and gas for me and my son.  You are all my Angels."  Her older boy is out on his own, while his younger brother is still in high school.

Today, Haven Family House is STILL supported by The Woman's Club membership with donations, collections, and volunteer hours in the housewares closet on-site.  Haven is now a part of InnVision Shelter Network.  This November we will collect twin and double sheets, blankets and bed sets for Haven Family house.

Comment

Comment

Family and Children Service Visit

IMG_1801.jpg

On August 14th, four members of The Woman's Club visited four facilities operated by Family and Children Services (FCS).  FCS mission is "to build strong, safe, and self-sufficient individuals, families, and communities".  in 2014, over 11,000 children, teens, and adults participated in programs and services through FCS.

Last spring, The Woman's Club collected well over $2,000 in donations for the FCS organization "The Hub", a drop in center and Independent Living Skills program (ILP) for emancipated foster youth in Santa Clara County.  Our focus was to provide new items these young adults could take to their first-ever apartment.  These items were used to reward individuals who completed a series of independent living classes.

This trip was to revisit The Hub and introduce ourselves to other programs and services provided FCS:  The FCS main counseling offices on Cambridge St in Palo Alto, the Family Violence and Abuse Prevention center and the Substance Abuse center.  FCS also has centers LGBQT services and provides school-based counseling, on-campus, at many of the public schools in Santa Calra County.  

Our second collection for The Hub will be in March 2016.  In the meantime, there are many things we can do to support this valuable program.  Collections have been started for The Hub of backpack and school supplies, donations infant diapers for new mothers, full-size toiletries and cleaning supplies, laundry soap for the free washer and dryer available to these young people at The Hub, as they start a new life.  For more information, contact these ladies who attended the tour:  Sue Krumbein, Kathy McMahon, Mary Grace Bartsch and Donna Bohling.  

Comment

Comment

Woman's Club Members donate to ProjectWeHope

May Outreach to We HOPE in East Palo Alto

May Outreach to We HOPE in East Palo Alto

The Woman's Club May Community Outreach collection of personal items for the Mobile Shower and Laundry Unit in East Palo Alto serving the mid-peninsula homeless has been a SUCCESS!  Individual bags of hygiene items were delivered today and Project WeHope publicly thanked us on our Facebook Page.  Congrats to our WC Community Outreach interest group and all club members for supporting this great need in our community.

Donated items included: Washcloths, toothbrushes, combs and travel size shampoos, toothpaste and deodorant.  

What a wonderful job we have accomplished  this year!  Well over $15,000 of donated in-kinds items to 10 organizations and close to 500 hours of volunteer time.  WE ROCK!

Comment

Comment

Coit Tower History Walk

IMG_1431.jpg

Thank You Sue & Eileen!  Such a beautiful day and equally beautiful ladies!  Sue 's narrative was perfect and set the tone for the mural display.  Lunch at Eileen's was lovely, relaxing and grand opportunity to chat. Love to all!  Have a joyous holiday!     xoxo Lolly

Wow! Thank you Lolly for the wonderful pictures! Just want to tell you how much fun I had yesterday. Everything was so perfect; from the sun-shining on us (until the return train ride), to the information I learned about Coit Tower, the wonderful view and gathering from Eileen's apartment on Telegraph hill, and finally to the walk back to the station. I was exhausted but so joyous! I told my husband we are going back!

Thanks again for all the hard work you and Sue put in behind the scenes. You will see me again on another history walk!       Carol Diamond


Comment

Comment

December 2014 Outreach Update

Happy Holidays!

Goody Bag

Goody Bag

A SINCERE THANK YOU TO ALL FOR THE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS OF TIME AND $$ TOWARDS OUR DECEMBER WC OUTREACH ACTIVITY.   We signed and stuffed our way to completing 120 delightful Goody Bags and holiday cards for the active duty military families stationed at Moffett Field.  A GREAT SUCCESS!  

The personnel at Moffett serve as point people for recruits of all branches of the Armed Services. There is an active Helicopter detachment at Moffett.  And we have all heard the occasional jets take off and land and seen the big C-15's doing "touch and goes".  Our Moffett neighbors serve us well.  They will be thrilled to get our gifts.

In the future there may be other ways for the WC to continue our relationship with the Moffett military families.  Stay posted!  The Woman's Club has a long history of supporting our active duty military.  Community Outreach in our own "backyard" is what our club is all about.  

YOUR Club Community Outreach has been SPECTACULAR  this year!  Congratulations to all participating members.  Our Luncheon collections so far have yielded:

  • Over 280 Early Reader books for 10 Books A Home (September
  • Over 380 pounds of food for the All Saint's Food Closet (October)
  • Over 60 sheet sets, 10 bed pillows and 5 blankets for Haven Family House (November)
  • 120 Holiday Goody Bags for Moffett Field military families (December)

Onward to 2015 Community Outreach projects!

Comment