Since 1907 — 10 years before the Spanish flu pandemic – the Westport Woman’s Club has served Westport.
They’ve done too many good things for the town to list (click here for the “History” page).
Just one example: Westport’s Visiting Nurse Service was started and funded by the club. Free dental, vaccination and well-child clinics;tuberculosis campaigns; free milk distribution; polio tests; a lending service of sickroom equipment – all were begun by the WWC.
Each year the club evaluates applications for Community Service Grants from nonprofit organizations in Fairfield County. Members volunteer many hours from October through spring, finding the right balance between needs and the WWC’s mission to support nearby charitable, educational, cultural and public health services.
At the end of this year’s cycle, COVID-19 roared through town. Club members wondered how they could now make the biggest impact for the most people in Fairfield County. They realized that the public health, and physical and mental well-being of residents, should take precedence in the spring grants.
Today they announce 5 non-profits, to share $50,000 in WWC Community Service Grants.
Bridgeport Rescue Mission provides 3 meals a day in containers; a mobile kitchen that distributes meals in South Norwalk and Bridgeport, and a food pantry, among many other services. All food programs are free to anyone who is hungry, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic group.
Filling in the Blanks. Schools offer weekday lunches for children in need. This organization provides them on weekends for vulnerable children in Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich and Westport.
Westport Families in Need (coordinated by Westport’s Department of Human Services). Funds are needed for food and requests for help, like rent money, which are increasing rapidly. Some families need gas cards to pick up school meals. A town COVID fund addresses those issues, as well as the mental health needs of people affected by the crisis.
Domestic Violence Crisis Center (Stamford and Norwalk). In stressful times, domestic violence increases. DVCC offers 24/7 crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy, safe housing, and a 24-hour hotline (888-774-2900).
Homes with Hope. The demands of this Westport nonprofit — which provides safe emergency shelter, as well as food assistance — have greatly increased during the coronavirus.
The Westport Woman’s Club has not been immune to the pandemic’s effects. They’ve suspended all fundraisers (like the Art Show, originally scheduled for this weekend), closed their Curio Cottage Gift Shop, and lost rental income through the closing of their Bedford Hall meeting space.
Anyone wishing to support the 113-year-old club’s good works can do so through the newly designed website (click here).
One good thing from all this time at home: Members had a chance to create an Instagram account. You can follow the club: @westportwomansclub.