The Bennington Womans Club has a philosophy about its charitable giving.
“We always gear our donations as local as possible,” said President Judy Winnicki.
The 22-member club supports a variety of organizations in its town of about 1,450 in northwest Douglas County, and some in neighboring Omaha.
The World-Herald's Goodfellows fund is among those groups. It provides one-time emergency aid and holiday meal vouchers for disadvantaged people in the area.
“We've been giving to Goodfellows for probably 20 years,” Winnicki said.
This year, the group donated $145.50 to the fund, the result of fundraising events and collections at monthly meetings.
Goodfellows is in good company. The club also has supported the Open Door Mission, the Nebraska Humane Society, the Bennington Over 60 Center, Heartland Hope Mission and the local Relay for Life.
The club provides school supplies for students and donates school milk money for families who can't afford it, and is backing a campaign to expand the Bennington Public Library.
Members also have sponsored a movie night at the Ridgewood Retirement Community in Bennington and donated socks to area domestic violence victims.
The club, an affiliate of the international General Federation of Women's Clubs, has two main moneymaking projects: the Festival of Trees each November and an annual auction of baskets that members fill with goodies and donate. This spring, that will be held in conjunction with the Bennington Lions Club, and all proceeds will go toward the library project.
A desire to be a part of your community (and $30 a year dues) is all that's needed to join the club, Winnicki said. Like most women's clubs, membership in Bennington skews older because younger women have more family obligations.
But, she said, “we're always open to everyone. You can do as much or as little as you want.”
Her current group does a lot, she said.
“The Festival of Trees is actually a lot of work, and they always pull through,” she said. “Most could run circles around a 20-year-old. You can count on them for sure.”