Members of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club who attended the Pasco County Commission meeting on June 21 were operating in a different mode than usual.
Instead of being there to give, they were there to receive.
Typically, when the women show up somewhere, they are carting books to coin laundries, delivering practical items to help residents of a domestic violence shelter, placing flags near the headstones of veterans at a cemetery or performing some other public service.
At the county board’s meeting, however, they were there to be honored.
Commissioners adopted a resolution to acknowledge the woman’s club’s “62 years of dedicated service to the residents of Pasco County.”
The club is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC).
The GFWC, according to the resolution, is “one of the world’s largest and oldest nonpartisan, nondenominational women’s volunteer service organizations.”
The Lutz-Land O’ Lakes club was founded on March 4, 1960, and currently has about 100 members. It focuses on six areas of community service projects: arts and culture; civic engagement; environment; education; health and wellness; and domestic violence prevention and awareness, the resolution says.
During the club’s history, members have donated more than 1.5 million hours of volunteer service and have raised almost $3 million.
In 2021 alone, the women completed 421 projects, volunteered 29,675 hours, and raised $109,459 to support scholarships, projects and good works, the resolution adds.
The group’s fundraising efforts and charitable acts have been covered for decades in the pages of The Laker/Lutz News.
The volunteer group hosts two major fundraisers each year. It holds an arts and crafts show during the holidays, which features vendors from around the country and attracts thousands of shoppers from throughout the region.
The club also conducts a flea market — luring crowds of bargain-seekers.
The pandemic temporarily put the kibosh on those events — putting a significant dent in the woman’s club budget.
But the club kept rolling.
And, the events are back on.
Besides the big fundraisers, the women also host periodic small fundraisers to support various projects and activities.
They provide practical support, in all sorts of ways.
When Habitat for Humanity held a housewarming in Dade City, for instance, the woman’s club was there with gifts, including a wreath, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a water filtration system, a set of Tervis tumblers and other useful items.
Club members were at the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport, to provide a warm welcome — and a unique flag star — to veterans returning from an honor flight to tour the war memorials in Washington D.C.
The ladies also stopped by the Lutz Senior Center, to chat with seniors and serve breakfast treats. And, they helped on projects at a Sensory Garden on the grounds of Camp Idlewild in Land O’ Lakes.
On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, club women delivered gift baskets filled with snacks, treats and fruit to eight local first responder stations in Land O’ Lakes and Lutz.
They also collaborated with the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library and its Foundry to install a little library on the campus of Shady Hills Elementary School in Spring Hill.
The woman’s club also knows how to have fun.
It holds luncheon fundraisers, fashion shows and other events to raise money for community causes.
Members can be entertaining, too.
At the Gulfside Hospice Charity Festival of Arts, in May, some club members dressed up as nuns and performed a number from “Sister Act.”
In addition to providing support for survivors of domestic violence and providing annual scholarships to help area students continue their education, the woman’s club has its hand in a wide array of projects.
It works to protect the environment, to promote education, and supply warmth and good cheer to veterans and the elderly.
It also supports efforts to mentor youths, through the Little Women of Lutz, various scouting organizations and other youth groups.
When Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller Nikki Alvarez-Sowles finished reading the county board’s resolution at its recent meeting, Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore congratulated members who were there representing the club.
Moore told them: “You do so much for the community. It’s so greatly appreciated. The time and effort you put in, to all of these projects. You make Pasco County and the whole Tampa Bay region much better than it was.”
Elayne Bassinger, the club’s president, responded: “Thank you, commissioner. Thank you all for acknowledging what we have tried to accomplish over the last 62 years, to make our community a better place (in which) to live and to work. We appreciate it (the honor) so much.”
To find out more about the woman’s club, visit GFWCLutzLandOLakesWomansClub.org or its Facebook page.
Published July 06,202 2