The Naples Woman’s Club has served the local community for close to 90 years; the 300+ women of the Club are dedicated to making a difference and helping those in need, especially the women of the community. So, when the pandemic struck, the group changed gears, modified their events, and managed to keep up the high level of support for Naples’ less fortunate. “We did not let COVID-19 get in the way of our mission, and we were able to continue our work without skipping a beat!” said President Valerie White.
Much of the work that the members of the Club do is behind the scenes, and this past year was no exception. For instance, volunteers provided support for the women of the Shelter for Abused Women & Children, by raising funds and providing a special dinner to celebrate with the clients of the group’s three shelters. A team of industrious gals led by NWC member Kath Bergin
continued to help outfit cottages for homeless women and their children at Providence House, as part of a long-term partnership with the charity. The Empowering Women Committee, chaired by member Charmaine Klein, organized educational seminars on human trafficking, with help from the Collier County Sheriff ’s office and Path2Freedom. And even with the threats of the virus, Club volunteers like Cathy Reichenbacher from the Outreach Committee helped Baby Basics distribute diapers and baby clothing to needy families.
Over the years, the Naples Woman’s Club has worked to raise funds for college scholarships and grants to social service agencies. Despite the lockdowns and quarantines, Club members were able to fund more than 39 scholarships to young students and mature women, and award more than 15 grants to key agencies, addressing compelling problems in our community. The Culinary Adventure program, a series of small chef luncheons designed to support both the culinary community and the food banks, generated revenue for restaurants and grants of over $100,000. “The chefs really enjoyed showing off their skills, and the guests were so glad to help with a safe way to socialize during the pandemic,” said Culinary Adventure Chair Stacy Vermylen. Another winning event was Dining for Philanthropy which promotes private, socially distanced dinners at the homes of members and friends, generating $30,000.
Life will be closer to normal in 2021-2022 as we emerge from the pandemic, and the Naples Woman’s Club is ready to go. The Empowering Women’s Luncheon, which raises funds for scholarships for mature women, will be featured in November.
Additionally, in November, the Artisan Marketplace, a sale of original objects of arts and crafts, created by local artisans, will raise money to fund a scholarship for a student pursuing the arts in college. Culinary Adventure 2022 will start in January and run for
three months, at more than 20 different restaurants! Information about the many events planned by the club can be found at Napleswomansclub.org, the Club’s website!
The Naples Woman’s Club is a 501c3 charitable organization, and a proud member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the largest organizations of women’s clubs in the world.