As the St. Charles Parish Women’s Club enters their 47th year of existence, they are staying true to their core values.
"St. Charles Women’s Club: Making a difference. That’s our motto," Publicity Chair Regina Allemand said.
Amongst their yearly events are numerous fundraisers aimed at raising money for scholarships for local students and non-profit organizations. Last year alone the club provided a total of $21,000 in local donations.
Allemand has been with the club for more than 20 years. She said the roots of the organization date back to 1966 when their was a surge in population in St. Charles.
"It was formed when Union Carbide had people transferring in. There were a lot of ladies that didn’t know how to meet up with other ladies," she said. "So when that came about that’s when the local ladies got together as well as some people that were coming in from different states."
Since that time the club has grown to around 150 current members and is open exclusively to women living in St. Charles Parish. However, women who join the club and later move away can be considered as "out of town" members.
One of the more well known events put on by the club is the yearly Tea Cup Auction.
"All of the members donate items and we actually have somebody come act as an auctioneer. We have paddles so it’s like a regular auction," President Choyer Parker said. "We’ve been holding it the last five or six years at Chateau Estates because we get between 300 and 350 people who attend."
At the end of each year, money that has been raised is distributed to students and non-profit organizations in the parish.
"With all of the money we make we give out scholarships and distribute the proceeds that are allocated for scholarships," Parker said. "We give out $1,000 scholarships and $500 vo-tech scholarships. How many scholarships we can give out depends on how much money we make."
In addition to giving a helping hand to older students, the St. Charles Women’s Club has also been reaching out to younger children for a number of years as well.
In year’s past, the club has adopted the A.A. Songy Kindergarten Center, a relationship that is going to come to a close after the school is combined with Mimosa Park Elementary next year.
Parker said the women’s club will not let the school closing stop them from reaching out to younger students in the future.
"We are currently discussing what we will do, but it hasn’t been decided yet," she said.
In addition to their activities in education, the women’s club also collects provisions for food banks and visits the elderly in nursing homes.
Coming in behind the civic duties the club is most passionate about, members are also given a chance to socialize and network throughout the year at a monthly book club, gourmet food outings, visits to historical sites as well as other events.
Members can also submit their own ideas for group activities.
"We pretty much do the same thing all the time, but our activities change too. We have volunteers who handle all of these things," Parker said. "Everybody is coming up with new ideas of what people can do including service and interest groups they’d like to start up they can do that too."
Allemand said through such events the club has grown into a diverse entity over the years.
"The club includes many natives of the area and women that have moved here from all over the world. That extraordinary mix has provided a wonderful opportunity for many different members to learn about different cultures while striving to fulfill our specific objective," Allemand said.
The club’s annual calendar runs concurrent with the school calendar beginning in September and ending in April each year.
For those in the community who are interested in finding out more about the St. Charles Women’s Club, they are having an informational coffee hour to kick off the 2013-14 season.
The annual "get acquainted" coffee hour will be held in Destrehan on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 10 a.m.
"We have this coffee hour and anyone who’s interested in joining can join on the spot right there," Parker said.
Ladies who are interested in attending the event may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Parker at (504)453-2462 for further information.
|The Tea Cup Auction is the club’s biggest event every year and features auction items donated by club and community members as well as local businesses.|