By Joyce DeWallace, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – One hundred and eleven years ago, a group of 31 charter members formed the original Shrewsbury Woman’s Club (SWC) to promote the civic, philanthropic and educational needs of the community. The club is still committed to those same goals and works hard on a wide variety of projects.
In an amazing show of patriotism, the club managed to raise over $98,000 in government bonds and stamp drives during World War II. In 1975, the women donated $27,000 to the library to buy a bookmobile to serve the town. Last year, the group raised money for scholarships and donated funds to sponsor Sundays at the library.
“The SWC is a quiet yet significant contributor to our town’s needs both organizationally and through individual members,” stated Sherry Clark. “By belonging to the club, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I can be part of a group that’s making a difference.”
Evelyn Abasciano added, “When I first moved into the town of Shrewsbury, I thought the best way to find new friends was to join the local women’s club. After being welcomed into the SWC, I found everything that I needed. Not only is it a social group, but very charitable in helping several community organizations. I especially enjoy the programs and educational speakers.”
“Friends of mine with similar interests told me about the SWC and invited me to join,” said immediate Past President Ginny McNamara. “I attended a couple of meetings, then I joined and quickly became a board member. What’s important to me is that the club is very focused on giving back to the entire community from teenagers to seniors. It’s important to me that the women have the same value system that I have.”
The club now has over 170 members ranging in age from the 40s to women well into their 90s.
“Some women have been members for over 40 years,” explained current President Eirinn Campaniello. “You have the gardeners, the golfers and the ladies that lunch. We have a growing number of new members who have recently retired from their professional careers. We recently added 16 new members.”
The club meets once a month from October to May, and meetings include a light luncheon, a short business meeting and a program. Last year’s calendar included talks by investigative reporter and author, Hank Phillippi Ryan; Worcester County Sheriff, Lewis G. Evangelidis; Cara Brindisi, music therapist, singer, songwriter; and Cynthia A. Ennis, director of the Women’s Heart Health Program at UMass Medical Center. A tiny treasures Chinese auction and a fashion show by Chico’s were fundraisers.
“It’s a nice way of taking the time to not only socialize with other women, but also stay current on what’s going on in our community firsthand,” added Sue Kronlund. “The SWC has well-respected speakers who come in to talk about changes taking place. It’s educational, and we can ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere.”
This fall, the club will hold a fundraiser open to the public called “Just Desserts” Sunday, Nov. 8, at the Father Smith Center of St. Anne’s Church, 130 Boston Turnpike (Route 9) from 3 to 5 p.m. The event combines a delicious dessert buffet with a ‘whodunit’ play, cast with SWC members. Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $10 for youth, and free for children under 10 and will be sold at the SWC booth at the Spirit of Shrewsbury Town Expo Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Oak Middle School, 45 Oak St. Ticket requests can also be emailed to Brenda Caldwell, [email protected] or by phone to 508-460-6828.
Membership information is available on the club’s website, www.shrewsburywomansclub.org