NARRAGANSETT – For over two decades, the GFWC (Global Federation of Women’s Clubs) Women’s Club of South County (WCSC) has provided local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations a boost with monies generated at its annual book and author luncheon fundraiser. Now, with COVID-19 forcing new health and safety regulations that prohibit social gatherings of over five people, the Club had to cancel its only fundraiser, which typically attracts about 300 people to the Dunes Club each July under normal circumstances, for the first time in its history. Instead of chalking the unfortunate situation up as a total loss, the WCSC has launched a campaign aimed at past attendees of the annual event and anyone else, encouraging direct donations to one of the local nonprofits served by the fundraiser in lieu of purchasing a ticket this year.

“This is our only fundraiser and without the proceeds from the event we will be unable to award our Grow Hope Grants to these worthy local nonprofit groups this year,” said Nancy DeNuccio, WCSC Fundraising Team Leader. “Many Club members and friends have been asking how they can help our Grow Hope recipients survive these difficult times. As you probably know, nonprofit groups are hurting for funds necessary for continuing the services they provide.”

Through the purchase of tickets to its annual book and author luncheon fundraiser, which sees a number of authors attend a luncheon by the sea to talk and answer questions about a recently published work, WCSC distributes its Grow Hope Grants to local, 501(c)(3) organizations to bolster their services to the surrounding community. The Club focuses on four key areas of impact – social services, education, conservation and the arts. Grant recipients have ranged from women’s shelters to local food pantries to animal rescue organizations. Last year, the annual fundraiser generated over $35,000, which went on as Grow Hope Grants ranging from  to support a new training program for a therapy dog team at Animal Rescue Rhode Island, provide developmentally appropriate equipment for the playground at CANE Day Care Center in South Kingstown, offset the purchase cost of fresh produce for St. Peter’s by-the-Sea’s community market, gift 100 seventh graders at Davisville Middle School in North Kingstown with art supplies, fund work supporting prevention of suicide and childhood obesity at Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds and provide funds for shelters and lighting at nearby horse rescues and sanctuaries, among many other programs at many other local nonprofits.       

“As a club, we will continue to award scholarships, but unfortunately, we will not be able to award our Grow Hope Community Grants this year,” said Sandy Coletta, WCSC President. “We look forward to having all our programs back up and running as soon as conditions will allow. Meanwhile, we are asking businesses and individuals who would normally support the WCSC Book & Author luncheon to give directly to the charity of their choice. The coronavirus crisis has put a strain on all nonprofit groups that deliver goods and services to people in need, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters.”

Besides its Grow Hope Grant distributions, WCSC makes its impact felt locally through a variety of volunteer services. In addition to raising money for local nonprofits every year through the book and author luncheon, the Club regularly reads to children at daycare and early learning centers, provides mentoring for women in need residing at Crossroads Alliance in South Kingstown, volunteers assistance with on-call activities at the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, encourages charitable activity in the youth by hosting a “Spirit of Giving” essay contest for local middle school students, delivers books to homebound seniors, distributes an annual scholarship for a number of women continuing their education and even gifts soup for fishers at Galilee in Point Judith.

Tickets to this year’s book and author luncheon would have cost $65.

“If you can afford to do so, please consider donating this amount, - or any other amount – directly to a nonprofit working to make life here in South County better for everyone,” said DeNuccio.

For a full list of past Grow Hope Grant recipients, please visit gfwcri.org/projects-vfqrc

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