True to our legacy, the women of JWL put in the record books another phenomenal year of service to the community of Enid. We continued the work of those who have gone before us, as we touched the lives of so many, each one of us giving generously of our time, talents and resources.
The year got off to a great start with the Executive Officers trekking to Oklahoma City for the annual Officer retreat. The invigorating all day session brought forth many exciting plans for the upcoming year not to mention the camaraderie created among the Officers. A few of the highlights from the retreat include the renewing of the JWL Gentry Neal Scholarship and the inclusion of a “Crack the Safe” challenge at our annual Charity Gala.
Great accomplishments were achieved throughout the year by our working and standing committees. Our working committees last year included: CEW, Cookbook Office, Cookbook Marketing, Cookbook Marketplace, Newsletter, NODA, Yearbook, Website, Return Engagement Work Night, Return Engagement Data Prep and Return Engagement Rotation. Our standing committees were Babysitting, Historian, Public Relations, Finance Committee, Project Planning, League Development, Social, Wish Families, Cookbook Steering, Return Engagement Steering, Honorary and Sustaining. Let’s go over a few of the highlights.
The CEW committee, working with school counselors, continued to affect the lives of area students by providing clothing items and school supplies. Over the past year, this small committee filled more than 435 requests for items such as coats, clothing, shoes, toiletries, backpacks and school supplies. JWL monies spent on students this year exceeded our budget of $10,000.
Our NODA committee shopped twice a month, all year long, for area homebound residents. This committee delivered a wide range of grocery and household items to our elderly population. Committee members loved providing homebound residents with the basics as well as their favorite snacks.
Return Engagement continues its mission as a place to shop for quality goods at a significant savings. Our customers once again showed their appreciation by voting Return Engagement as Enid’s “Best Thrift Store”. Member consignments and donations continue to stock our shelves with committee members and employees working weekly to get those items on the floor. Sales over the past year have remained strong and we continue to look for ways to improve our store and the shopping experience. This past year two new signs were installed at Return Engagement with funding received from our Honorary and Sustaining members.
The cookbook committee worked diligently over the past year, focusing on our existing accounts and setting up new accounts. We continued to look for new ways and areas to sell our two cookbooks, Stir Ups and Cooking by the Bootstraps. We celebrated with our Stir Ups cookbook as it received the coveted Walter S. Mcllhenny Hall of Fame Award, honoring cookbooks considered as classics in the field. A favorite event of this committee is the Cookbook Marketplace. This year we brought together more cookbooks, casseroles and shoppers then every before making it a huge success.
The Wish Families committee chose this year to assist three families, each with a different need. Members on this committee find it very rewarding and are grateful to be able to assist such families through League.
The finance committee reviewed numerous requests from our community and granted almost $ 7,500 to 35 organizations. As with years in the past, we funded several worthy organizations. A significant amount of money was given to the Regional Food bank to send backpacks home with school children to provide a couple of healthy snacks for the weekend. Additionally, monies were given to fund smart boards, purchase special education pens, car seats, send children to music camps just to mention a few.
The Project Planning committee, in addition to advising us on a next year’s project, coordinated many small service projects throughout the year. As community organizations would make requests to the League for service hours, this committee would receive those requests and present the opportunities to the membership. New this year the membership was required to give three “League Hours” as part of their total requirement and one way to fill that requirement was to work for a community organization.
The 5th Annual Charity Gala was our major fundraiser this year, raising more than $30,000. With elegant tablecloths setting the tone, the Conference Center was once again transformed into a magical place where League and community members could dance the night away, munch on delicious hors d’ oeuvres and take home fabulous auction items. The funds raised were disbursed to several area organizations: EPS’s Occupational Therapy Department, Cimarron council Boy Scouts of America, Salvation Army, Leonardo’s, Faith Farm, Christmas in action, Enter His Gates, and the Enid High Big Blue Band. In addition, 10% of the “Charity Gala” proceeds were set aside this year for JWL’s charitable work.
To finish off the year JWL voted 15 members into active status in March and welcomed 26 new Provisional members at the April Luncheon. JWL has thrived because of the commitment, tremendous dedication and hard work of our members. We will continue on together, as we strive to be “A legacy of Women Making a Difference”.