Denville/Rockaway Woman’s Club Celebrating 90 years in 2022

 

Club members organizing baskets for the Joey Bella tricky tray fundraiser last year.

The Woman’s Club of Denville was organized March,1932 to fill a need for an impartial, non-political group to dispense relief to the unemployed and needy in Denville.  Ninety years later, the Club continues its objectives of service to the community and friendship among its members. We became a member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs (NJSFWC) of GFWC in 1947, and will be celebrating 75 years as a Federation member in 2022.  

 In 2010, the Club changed its name to the GFWC Woman’s Club of the Denville-Rockaway area to better reflect the scope of its membership and service.

Early projects included the promotion of a town Welfare Department & working to get local mail delivery for Denville residents, house to house solicitation for funds and books to establish the first public library in Denville, and donating a collapsible stretcher and oxygen tank for the town ambulance.

 

It is amazing to current members, who number around 50, that those objectives are still the foundation for our Club today.  Established as a non-profit, community service organization, the Club’s objective is ‘to make a difference in the lives of others, one project at a time’ still stands today.  Having the ability to offer a variety of projects and programs makes the Club unique, and allows us to offer many choices to our members.

 

Yearly college scholarship money to high school seniors have been presented every year since 1952.  Originally, the

Dedicating a tree at Muriel Hepner park in memory of member Peggy Gray, with Mayor Andes

money was given as a loan to deserving students.  Only one loan was ever paid back 25 years later, from a man who wrote and thanked the Club for their faith, confidence and patience they had in helping him attain his present success.  This scholarship was named for Blanche Baldwin, Club President from 1937 to 1939 and we are proud to say that the scholarship still exist today, one at each of the  high schools in our service area;  Morris Hills and Morris Knolls High Schools.  

 

Beginning in 2000, the club started awarding a scholarship to a woman returning to school at Morris County School of Technology in the LPN program. Recently, a second scholarship has  been added.

 

The Club was recognized in 2006 by the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) for its outstanding work in recycling and was awarded the Muriel Hepner Volunteer award in 2009 by the Denville PRIDE Council for its volunteer efforts in the community.   In 2018 the Club planted a tree in Muriel Hepner Park, Denville in honor of past member, Peggy Gray.

Throughout the clubs history, we have maintained a close relationship with Denville and Rockaway social services, as well as other area agencies.   Recently, the club was recognized for its efforts with the Joey Bella Memorial Fund, Inc, by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC). From many 2021 projects submitted nationwide, they were awarded, by popular vote, the GFWC President’s Pick for 2021. 12 Club member’s, spent 250 hours over a 3-month period preparing Tricky Tray baskets for the yearly Joey Bella Tricky Tray fundraiser.

Club members with banner

Local businesses now play an important role as ‘drop off collection sites’ for our continuing collection of items, such as back to school supplies, ink jet & toner cartridges, and Easter basket items.  During the holiday season, Wish Trees are set up at a variety of sites to collect gifts for local families.  The club has also collected over 54,000 new and like new children’s books at these locations.

During the current pandemic the club continues to seek opportunities to make a difference in the community.   Donations of food were sent to thank healthcare workers in the local hospital, and dropped off at local food pantries.  Masks were made for healthcare facilities, coats were collected for the homeless, and hats and scarfs were made and collected for CASA NJ children. Internet technology was established to conduct virtual meetings so that communication to members was continued during the pandemic.

The club will continue to make a difference in the community, even when it is necessary to adapt to the changes in the community.

For additional information, visit our website at: https://gfwcdenrock.wixsite.com/denville-rockaway or email us: gfwcdenrock@gmail.com.

 

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