PENINSULA - General Federated Woman's Club-Pacific Shores recently received recognition for their leadership, fundraising, domestic violence awareness, international affairs, arts in the community, and education efforts - not bad for a club with only six members.

Started in 2003 by Cheryl Holman, the Peninsula club get together for friendship and fun. Meeting once a month, Joyce Wingett, Pinkie Eggleston, Pam Donovan, Cheryl Holman, Noralee Stanton, and Veronica Frink meet for lunch, have potlucks, craft together and strive to make an impact through local community service projects and helping other charitable organizations.

In conjunction with the Ocean Beach Hospital Auxiliary, the group sponsors the Women's Heart to Heart Luncheon each February. The ladies also get together to make "comfort pillows" for breast cancer patients.

For the past few years, the ladies have held craft workdays to make as many as 36 denim totes for Head Start kids, which are personalized with each child's name and used to take paperwork to and from school. They've also made emergency backpacks for the kids, which hold bottles of water, snacks and other things each of them might need following a fire or earthquake.

Other community projects include providing school supplies and female-inspired books to local schools; putting together holiday food baskets for needy families; donating Visa gift cards and toiletries to a local women's shelter; holding a garage sale fundraiser each summer; donating money to PACE; assisting with funds for parenting classes; and making baby blankets, hats and other items to sell at the Ocean Beach Hospital gift shop.

Though they tend to focus their efforts locally, GFWC-Pacific Shores' involvement spans the globe, such as purchasing flocks of chickens for women to raise and help feed their families in third-world countries. Currently, members are knitting and crocheting hats for newborns up to 18-year-olds. The hats are sent to the Treehouse organization in King County, where they will be distributed to foster children. Last year they sent off 55 hats to keep kids' heads warm and cozy.

GFWC-Pacific Shores is always looking for new members and worthy local projects to work on.

"Just with a small group I think we can accomplish quite a bit," says Wingett. "But more people with ideas is very valuable."

Established in 1890, the General Federation of Women's Clubs' origination is traced back to Jane Cunningham Croly, a journalist who was denied admission to a press club dinner because she was a woman. Now headquartered in Washington, D.C., GFWC has approximately 4,000 clubs and 100,000 members worldwide. According to the federation's statistics, every year approximately 13 million hours and $37 million are donated through the success of 168,400 GFWC club projects.

While advocating on behalf of women, children and families, GFWC members are strong supporters of education, the arts, natural resource preservation, healthy lifestyles, and the elderly and disabled. Described as "grassroots advocates," the active ladies are committed to involvement, unity, leadership, networking, caring and responding to the needs in their communities - each day following their motto, "Unity in Diversity."

According to their headquarters, "GFWC is credited with establishing 75 percent of the country's public libraries, developing kindergartens in the public schools, and advancing the Pure Food and Drug Act. Federation members continue to initiate innovative programs on issues of national and international prominence, including child labor, youth suicide prevention, alcohol and drug abuse education for women and children, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Violence Against Women Act, literacy, pay equity and conservation."

Members create programs and projects advocating the arts, conservation, education, home life, international affairs and public affairs. In addition, members of GFWC-Washington State dedicate their time to legislative outreach, conservation workshops, their Women's Information Center, scholarships, community service projects and Federation Forest State Park. Washington state has five GFWC districts, which is made up of 44 clubs and approximately 700 members.

For more information about GFWC, call 800-443-GFWC or log onto (www.gfwc.org). To find out more about joining GFWC-Pacific Shores, contact Joyce Wingett at 665-2510. The club's next meeting will be held at noon on June 18 at All the Tea and China in Ilwaco - drop in and bring a friend!

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