By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – The proverb, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same,” can be applied to many things but it rings true for the Shrewsbury Social Club (SSC.) The SSC is a women’s club and was established in 1975 as the Welcome Wagon Club of Shrewsbury. It was then, and still is, all about forging friendships.
The club was originally established under the umbrella of Welcome Wagon International which was a marketing program where new homeowners were welcomed to town with a gift basket delivered by a friendly emissary who provided useful information about the community.
The business model of the Welcome Wagon changed along with how it managed its clubs. In 2009, the club was at a crossroads and reorganized and rebranded itself as the Shrewsbury Social Club for Neighbors and Newcomers. The mission of the club remains the same – to provide its members with social and civic opportunities.
Club co-presidents Peggy Quill and Carol Mayo explained that the membership of the SSC has also undergone changes. Once largely a group of moms with young families, its membership began to ebb and flow once kids grew and members went back to work. Additionally, the town’s population fluctuations also affected the club.
“The group now consists mostly of women over 40,” Quill said. “A lot of our new members tend to be women who are at a point in their lives where they want to look for new friendships. Their kids are grown and they are ready to think of themselves.”
The SSC provides its roughly 95 members with many opportunities for socialization through monthly interest group meetings. They are really the heart of the club. Interest groups are diverse and include book groups, recipe groups, bunko, skiing, golf, winetasting, game nights, restaurant night out, service and 40-plus.
Philanthropy is an integral part of the SSC. Throughout the year there are several opportunities for fundraising either through bake sales, raffles or collections of items (coats, school supplies or toiletries for veterans) that are donated to a local charity. Most recently, the SSC has adopted a garden plot to tend at Dean Park through collaboration with the Shrewsbury Garden Club.
Last year, the club was able to donate $2,660 to the following local charities: Veteran’s Inc.,
SOAR, SELCO Share the Warmth, St. Anne’s Food Pantry, Shrewsbury Senior Center and the Shrewsbury Public Library. Approximately $13,000 has been donated since 2011. Service and fundraising is geared to benefit local organizations.
Quill joined the SSC because she wanted a group of women with whom to play golf. Her first impression was “everyone was so welcoming.”
“It can be hard to meet people at work who share common interests,” Mayo added.
The SSC calendar year begins in September with a kickoff at a local restaurant where members get an overview of the interest groups. Next is a re-gifting dinner held in January and then a year-end gathering in June. Many of the interest groups go on hiatus during the summer months.
“We are always trying to meet the needs of our members and to grow the Club,” Mayo said.
Quill added, “We have so much to offer. We see how it’s benefited our lives and we would like to share that with others.”
New members are always welcome to join the SSC throughout the year. To learn more about the SSC, visit www.shrewsburysocialclub.org.