To that end, the 40-member organization is looking to add to its ranks so that it can continue to do good deeds and become even better known in Bayonne.
Having turned three years old last month, the group is looking to do bigger and better things in the place it calls home.
“We are a community-active club, where we do a lot of fundraising for a lot of charities for different people,” said event chairwoman Dawn Herring.
The organization has hosted a number of events, including speakers, health programs, “dine arounds,” and fashion shows.
The club’s first big show was held in 2012, when the women held their “Fashion for Compassion,” with an emphasis on people being able to dress for less.
“We went to Highways [thrift store], Grace [Sale], and purchased things there,” Herring said.
“We were able to style the models with clothes we bought from different [discount] shops. We were able to dress 15 models for under $300—and that included everything; their clothes and their accessories.”
The proceeds of more than $5,000 went to United Cerebral Palsy of Bayonne.
Building on the success of that event, another fashion show was held last year, with the recipient of those proceeds a Marist High School employee whose two-year-old son, Ryan Hansen, had had a brain aneurysm and needed numerous surgeries.
“We were able to give the family $6, 000,” Herring said.
Another fundraiser was for club member Melissa Redondo, whose son is in a wheelchair.
“We participated at an event at the Big Apple to help her son with a development disability, to raise money for his needs,” Herring said. “She was trying to get a vehicle, a vehicle equipped to help with the wheelchair.”
“We also did a dine-around last year, at Chris' Corner in the fall, for Taylor Redondo,” Herring said. “Whoever came in and ate that night, a percentage of it went toward the fundraiser.”
Not only that, the group put together a basket of prizes, including stuffed animals and trinkets. The basket alone raised $400 for the cause.
“We also did a fundraiser for a member who passed away, the third big fundraiser in three years,” Herring said. The Winter White Snow Ball raised roughly $7,000.
“Her name was Kathy Potter; we decided to run a scholarship in her memory,” Herring said. “This was the first memorial scholarship. Kathy had graduated summa cum laude from NJCU [New Jersey City University]. She did a lot of journalism, was a member of the writing club, and was editor for the paper at NJCU. She was very active in education.”
The group’s goal is to continue the aid for one incoming freshman at the university each year, if possible.
Why they’re here
So what was the impetus for the group to form?
“We wanted to bring more awareness to the community of the people who are in need,” Herring said. “Here there are a lot of people in need; there’s joblessness, homelessness. We had a couple of fires here recently.”
“When we hear of things like that here, we get involved,” she said. “Everybody pitches in.”
Women’s Club members feel that you can never have enough help. So they are welcoming whoever would like to get involved to stop by to see their group and hear what it is all about.
“We meet once a month, every first Thursday, usually at 7 p.m., at Robbins Reef on Pavonia Court,” Herring said. “All are welcome to join.”
The group’s next meeting is Feb. 6.
Most of the women who join are active in Bayonne, working here and living here. Many are businesswomen, and some are business owners. But that’s not a prerequisite by any means.
“A member usually brings a guest to a meeting and they make a decision whether they want to join,” Herring said. It’s that simple.
More members mean more events and more help for those in the city who need it.
This year’s goals
The club has two major goals for 2014.
“One is to continue the [Potter] scholarship, and the other is to hold one big event a year that identifies us as a club,” Herring said. “Everyone would know it’s the Women’s Club holding that event. It would be to make us more known to the community and get more outreach to it. It would be to let people come to us when they need help.”
“It would be being able to raise enough money to help that one cause,” she said.
The bottom line is that the club wants city residents to know they are always there for them.
“We’re always willing to serve in ways that work for the community,” Herring said. “Myself, I know how important it is for people to be aware of what you do; but also that you want to do it. If it's achievable, we're willing to make the sacrifice.”
For more information about the Women’s Club, call Lorma Wepner at (201) 437-7263.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.