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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Clayton Century Club celebrates 90 years of community service

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  • The members of the Clayton Century Club marked a milestone on April 2, celebrating the club's 90th anniversary. Club President Janet Brown said the event marks "our 90th year of community service and volunteerism."
    The club consists of 28 members ranging in age from 33 to 96, who donated 1,839 hours of community service in 2012 on 26 programs and projects.
    "We are a diverse group of women – working, raising children, and taking care of our elders and families," said Brown, whose mother, Frances Ziegler also served as president of the club. "She's the one who got me into the club, and it's nice to follow in her footsteps."
    One of the major efforts of the club is supporting and encouraging educational opportunities for all ages.
    Proceeds from club fundraisers have been donated to scholarships for two local students graduating from high school, to the Smyrna Library Summer Reading Program, the Greater Smyrna-Clayton Boys & Girls Club, and to sponsor a local student in the Hugh O'Brien Youth (HOBY) leadership program. Through the years, the club has also given donations to the public schools.
    Along with the fundraisers, the club members volunteered their time in a variety of service projects in 2012 "and made a difference one project at a time," Brown said.
    Some of the projects were:
    • Donating seven fleece blankets, each with a tote bag to hold the blanket, books, and items needed to survive an emergency exit from one's home;
    • Supplying People's Place headquarters in Milford with 60 pairs of socks and 20 pairs of slippers;
    • Donating 21 pocketbooks, 10 wallets, 10 necessity kits, 30 bars of soap, 19 bottles of shampoo, and 30 bottles of lotion for the Done-In-A-Day pocketbook project at the General Federation of Women's Clubs state convention for victims of domestic violence;
    • Providing refreshments at two "Very Special Arts" events;
    • Providing 342 cupcakes to students with cognitive disabilities and autism who were attending a theater performance at Delaware State University;
    • Supplying snacks and helping residents at the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna during an art project;
    • Donating funds to the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass softball program;
    • Volunteering time and giving in-kind donations to four "Home-Life" projects which the members do each year;
    • Providing snacks for the Stockley Center's Fall Fling Halloween Dance;
    • Participating in the "adopt-a-resident" program at the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, providing four residents with Christmas boxes filled with everything on the Christmas list and donated 25 extra gifts for other residents;
    • Holding seven fundraisers including a 50-50 raffle, the endorsed "Flower Power" fundraiser, Christmas wrapping paper and gift catalog sales, sales of homemade soup, baked goods, dinners, and specialty baskets, raising a total of $2,437.55 after expenses.
    Supporting military families and veterans
    Page 2 of 3 - Another major effort of the club is helping military personnel and veterans.
    "We can never do enough to thank our military men and women, active or retired veterans of our country," said Brown.
    Club members sent Christmas cards and letters of encouragement to the Red Cross program "Holiday for Heroes" and donated a Christmas basket for a veteran at the Veterans Home in Milford.
    Brown said the message from the guest speaker at the club's February meeting encouraged club to do more.
    "The information that night resulted in the members donating to the Fisher House at Dover Air Force Base and helping with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that is now open to the public
    Part of the town's history
    The Town of Clayton celebrated its 125th anniversary in June 2012, during the annual Clayton Railroad Days event. Clayton Century Club members joined the celebration by walking in the parade and providing a two-horse carriage for elderly members to participate in the parade. Then the club sold fruit cups, iced tea, railroad hats, and lollipops shaped like trains.
    "So much fun was had interacting with our friends in the community," said Brown.
    "The hard work and hours of a member's time she gives to our club enables us to get to know each other and become friends and one big happy family," said Brown. We are so fortunate to have 28 members who do so much for our community, one project at a time."
    Senior stateswomen
    While the club is 90 years old, the club members are proud to say they have three members who top that figure.
    The "most mature" members are Esther Orvis, 96; Helen McCarraher, 94; and Frances Ziegler, 92.
    McCarraher has lived in town for 34 years and has been a member of the Century Club for 10.
    "I like the service the club does for the community, and I like the camaraderie with people," she said. "They're all good friends."
    Ziegler said she's proud of all the contributions the club makes, and she enjoyed her five years as president of the group. The commitment to service spreads to other aspects of your life, she said. For example on her 90th birthday, she asked for any gifts to be monetary donations to the club's scholarship fund for local high school students.
    Alex's Lemonade Stand April 20
    During the Clayton yard sale on Saturday, April 20, the Clayton Century Club will be holding an Alex's Lemonade Stand fundraiser for children's cancer research, along with a bake sale and a yard sale, all at the Lillian Smith Senior Center, 410 Main St. Breakfast sandwiches and specialty baskets will also be available.
    Page 3 of 3 - New members welcome
    "We're always looking for new members," said Brown. "We have many different projects, so people can find what interests them."
    For information on joining, call membership chairwoman Tracey Naylor, (302) 359-1520.

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