Local woman’s club named best in state

The GFWC Lutz-Land O’Lakes Woman’s Club has received the Lois B. Perkins Award, which goes to the GFWC Florida Outstanding Club of the Year.

This is the third year in a row that the club has received the honor – an unprecedented distinction, according to club members.

The GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club members were decked out in a sea of red at a recent general meeting in support of February as Heart Health Month.  (Courtesy of Patricia Serio)

The GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club members were decked out in a sea of red at a recent general meeting in support of February as Heart Health Month.
(Photos courtesy of Patricia Serio)

Winning the award allows the club to retain the coveted silver commemorative tea service to use for their club events.

Kay Taylor, who is the club’s president, and Cathy Mathes, who is the first vice president, attribute the club’s success to its community involvement.

“Teamwork – that’s what makes our club such an awesome club,” Taylor said.

Mathes agreed: “We do a lot of hard work. We do it in a lot of different areas.”

The club is involved on several different fronts.

It supports the Old Lutz School. It helps Support Our Troops. It volunteers with bingo games at the Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home.

Members pitch in at schools. They put books at coin laundries. They put up a candidate in the annual Lutz Guv’na race. They participate in Relay for Life.

The women prepare foods for breakfast or brunch at the Hope Lodge at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

On one occasion, Mathes found the experience to be particularly poignant.

“A man came up and said, ‘My wife hasn’t eaten anything in two weeks. This is the first time she’s eaten.’

“You just want to sit there and cry,” Mathes said.

The list of activities that the women are involved in goes on and on.

The GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club puts on the annual Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival each year at Lake Park. The event is the club’s biggest fundraiser and usually attracts about 30,000 people.

The GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club puts on the annual Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival each year at Lake Park. The event is the club’s biggest fundraiser and usually attracts about 30,000 people.

Besides helping the community, the club is involved in two major fundraisers each year. It stages the Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival at Lake Park, an event that draws around 30,000 people each year. It also puts on the Woman’s Club Flea Market, another gargantuan task that involves lots of heavy lifting and volunteer hours.

Taylor has been a member for six years, joining the club a year after she moved to Lutz. She was recruited by Auralee Buckingham.

The club has developed a reputation around the community, she said.

“If somebody needs something, they come to us first to see if there’s any way we can help them,” Taylor said.

“We are all about service,” she said. “We are a working club, not a social club.”

Mathes added: “We do a lot of hard work. We do it in a lot of different areas.”

The woman’s club, known around Lutz and Land O’ Lakes as the “green-shirt ladies,” has 95 members.

The club is open to new ideas and picks up quite a few from meetings in Orlando, Mathes said.

“You learn from all of the other clubs in the state – the projects they’re working on. You can come home with some good ideas of some things you can do here,” Mathes said.

Winning the top prize was a surprise and a thrill, Mathes said.

The club placed second in a number of categories, but earned enough points to win first place, she said.

“There are a lot of active clubs all over the state. It’s just really a great honor,” Mathes said.

Published June 24, 2015

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