GFWC Book Lovers Study Club Receives Top State Award
2015 Miss Alabama Meg McGuffin spoke about her platform of “Healthy is the New Skinny – Promoting Positive Body Image” at the recent 121st Alabama Federation of Women’s Clubs Convention held at the Birmingham Marriott held April 29th-May 1st. Other guest speakers included Tom Walker of The American Village in Montevallo; Tajuan McCarty, founder of The Wellhouse, a home for victims of human trafficking; and John Croyle a former Alabama Crimson Tide football player and founder of Big Oak Ranch, a home for troubled and abused children. Kathy Robson, Director of Development at Ronald McDonald House Charities Alabama spoke to 154 AFWC members and guests about the services provided at Ronald McDonald House. “Families at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham enjoy a cozy bedroom plus cooking, laundry, internet and recreational facilities, dinners provided by volunteers, the support of other families and a caring staff. At the same time, families visiting our Family Room at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa have a place to rest and re-group while being just steps away from their child’s bedside” according to the website. These services are free through the many donations provided by monetary pledges and gifts, McDonald’s donation boxes, and the collection of pop tabs which are recycled into cash. Club women across Alabama have been collecting the pop tabs off of cans for the past year and these were brought to the convention for weighing and donating to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
As part of the Alabama Federation of Women’s Club, Russellville’s GFWC Book Lovers Study Club members attended the annual convention and with the partnership of C B&S Bank employees collected and turned in 21 lbs. and 3 oz. of tabs this year. This is the second year for the partnership between the Book Lovers members and CB&S. Club members Sheila Upchurch and Rebecca Reeves both have close ties to the bank and know that some of the employees have had children to have health related services at UAB Children’s Hospital. Some of these families have utilized the free services provided by The Ronald McDonald House. A total of over thirteen families from Franklin County have benefitted from these services. Over the past eleven years the club women of Alabama have turned in 14,521 lbs of pop tabs which equals about 16 million individual tabs!
While at the convention this year, the members of GFWC Book Lovers Study Club received several first place awards for their community service and charitable works for the past year. AFWC President Jackie Clark presented the club with the “AFWC President’s Award of Excellence”. Representing the General Federation of Women’s Club headquarters in Washington, D.C., SueEllen Brazil, GFWC Treasurer, presented Book Lovers Study Club with one of the state organization’s top honors- “The SueEllen Brazil Outstanding Club Award”. Club members include Molly Bates, Debbie Beason, Patricia Cox, Haley Fuller, Hillary Hall, Audrey Herring, Susie Malone, Gayle McAlister, Cheri McCain, Nina McNatt, Debbie Nale, Brenda Oliver, Carolyn Porter, Lela Ray, Rebecca Reeves, Martha Sibley, Michelle Sibley, and Sheila Upchurch. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. The history of the organization can be found at www.gfwc.org.
With the slogan, “Living the Volunteer Spirit” GFWC Book Lovers Study Club projects for 2016 included a silent auction for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, pop tab collections for Ronald McDonald House, Safeplace donations, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Campaign, Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, Sew Much Comfort veterans adaptive clothing donation, United Through Reading for military families donation, Operation Christmas Child donations, Beautification of City of Russellville donations, BBQ dinner fundraiser for Russellville High School scholarships, Read Across America volunteers, Meals on Wheels volunteers, Bingo and refreshments with Country Cottage residents, Fame Girls Ranch fundraiser volunteers, Inside Knowledge Gynecologic Cancer Campaign, “The Heart Truth” awareness campaign for heart disease in women, Veteran’s Reception for Every Light a Prayer for Peace, Shot@Life vaccines for underprivileged children, and a Christmas Tour of Homes fundraiser along with several other projects. The club seeks community-minded, service-oriented women for membership.