SERVICE has been the hallmark of the WWC from the very beginning in 1907 and still is today.
Over the years an amazing and impressive number of hours and dollars have been generously given by countless WWC members to improve the lives of their neighbors, both in Westport and greater Fairfield County. The Community Services Committee exemplifies the core mission of the WWC and all members are automatically members. It is also the vehicle through which WWC grants to area non-profit organizations are vetted and approved each year. In addition, the many service projects that the WWC members currently participate in are all under the auspices of this key committee. The Community Services Committee work falls into three main areas: Grants, Scholarships and Service Projects.
Community Services Grants Committee:¬†¬†The work of the Committee is reviewing grant applications and overseeing the many volunteer projects that the WWC participates in.
¬†Scholarships:¬† “The first scholarship was awarded in 1925, and each year thereafter a special scholarship committee consulted with the principal of Staples High School to decide on a designee.” The amount and number of general scholarships vary by year according to the funding available and the qualifications of the applicants.
The¬†WWC has taken part in many different services projects since 1907. ¬†Descriptions below of current service projects are designed to help members identify which projects they are interested in working on.
Canal Park Luncheon:¬† WWC members prepare a spring luncheon for residents of Canal Park, a residence in Westport for seniors and disabled singles and couples of any age.
Food Closet:¬† In 1975, the WWC started an Emergency Food Distribution Program, under the leadership of the Westport Department of Human Services, to aid town residents in need. It is now known as the Food Closet and continues to this day; over 500 bags of non-perishable food are supplied by the WWC Food Closet each year.
Elderhouse Holiday Boutique:¬†¬†WWC members have¬†been participating¬† by donating¬†new small gift items for this event.¬†¬†They also help the clients “shop” for gifts that are very well priced and¬†wrap the presents for the clients.
Holiday Food Gift Cards:¬† This program provides grocery store gift cards in November and December to local residents in need of assistance.¬† In addition, this program reaches out to residents of assisted living facilities with a thoughtful card at holiday time.
Holiday Meals:¬† Hot meals are provided to shut-ins on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year‚Äôs Day.¬†¬†¬†The list of recipients is generated by the Westport Human Services Department and the program is funded 100% by the WWC.
Holiday Toy Drive:¬† This is a toy collection drive to benefit children and teens in need served by Children‚Äôs Connection in Norwalk.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk:¬† The 3.5 mile-walk benefits the American Cancer Society‚Äôs fight against breast cancer and is held yearly on a Sunday in late October at Sherwood Island State Park.
Necessities Bag Project:¬† In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our members join together in October to help put together Necessities Bags for mastectomy patients.¬† Necessities Inc, a 501c(3) charitable organization was founded in 2005 by a local woman, who after having a mastectomy herself gained new perspective on how to prepare for personal needs both in the hospital and during post surgical recovery at home. ¬†The Necessities Bags are distributed free of charge exclusively through surgeons, nurses, and hospital-affiliated breast cancer support centers in Fairfield County and other areas in Connecticut. These reusable totes are filled with essentials for wound care, hygiene and personal comfort for use after surgery and at home
RSVP Knitters:¬† This is a project that started in 1989 when the WWC was asked to knit blankets for AIDS babies. It is still going strong today!¬† It is run by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, RSVP, in Norwalk. Over the years the program has expanded to knitting mittens, scarves, hats and blankets for children in Norwalk including those attending Neon Daycare and the Head Start Nursery School Program. Our volunteers also knit healing shawls for the Cancer Society that are given to women undergoing treatment for cancer. Another program that benefits from our involvement is the Neonatal Nursery ICU at Norwalk Hospital that receives preemie hats knitted by our members.
Warm Up Fund Mailing:¬† The purpose of the Warm Up Fund mailing is to raise funds to supplement the home heating costs for residents who qualify under the income guidelines set by the Westport Department of Human Services.¬†It started in 1996 and still happens every year in January. The Warm Up Fund is a humanitarian project accomplished by a collaborative effort among the WWC, the United Way and the Town of Westport Department of Human Services. The funds are raised as the result of an appeal letter that is mailed to households in Westport asking for a donation for fuel assistance for Westporters unable to pay their heating bills.¬†¬†¬†The WWC does the compilation of the mailing; the job is to fold, label, stuff and seal up to 10,500 Warm-Up Fund letters.
Westport Community Events
Other Community Projects that the WWC has participated in recent years:
Westport Library Book Sale held twice a year and the Downtown Merchants Association‚Äôs event, Blues, Views and Barbeque Festival
Grant Applications¬† are solicited by mail in the early¬†Fall, the Community Service Committee reviews all applications throughout the Winter months.¬† Grants are awarded in May.
The Club gave grants to the following non-profit organizations and agencies in 2012:
|A Better Chance||Family & Children’s Agency|
|Breast Cancer Emergency Aid||Friends of the Center for Senior Activities|
|Builders Beyond Borders||Hall-Brooke Behavioral Health Services|
|CancerCare for Kids Program||Home Delivered Meals|
|Cardinal Sheehan Center||Homes with Hope|
|Caroline House||Kids Empowered by Your Support|
|Center for Women & Families||McGivney Center|
|Child & Family Guidance Center of Bridgeport||Mercy Learning Center|
|Children’s Connection||Positive Directions|
|Christian Community Action||Project Go (DHS)|
|Circle of Care||Project Return|
|CLASP Homes||Senior Client Needs (DHS)|
|Domestic Violence Crisis Center||Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities|
|Families in Need Fund (DHS)||Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Ffld County|
|Westport/Weston Family Y|