April marked 28 years that The Greater Pascack Valley Woman’s Club has been an active organization in the Bergen County community. With a total of 33 members, the club is especially passionate about giving back to the community in numerous ways. Multiple fundraisers are held on a regular basis and $2,000 in scholarships are granted at the end of every year.
It’s no surprise that much of what the club does is rooted in tradition considering the co-presidents, Elaine Mooney and Elaine O’Brien, are founding members. Both Mooney and O’Brien have held office positions before becoming president and are heavily invested in the impact that the club has on the community.
“We try to help organizations that are trying to help people. I really feel like we’re making a difference,” says O’Brien.
When she joined in 1990, she was simply looking for a way to socialize with other women in her community but has now come to realize its significance. Not only does the Woman’s Club represent eight municipalities in the Pascack Valley region, it is also a part of the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Club and the General Federation, which encompasses all of the United States.
When O’Brien was at a conference this past spring, she finally understood that her presidency was a part of history. She was very proud to share that the Woman’s Club was recognized for its work in five out of the eight categories, including Performing Arts, Home Life, Leadership, Public Issues and Women’s History. But what made the rewards even sweeter was the fact that they were in the presence of clubs who had been in existence for 100-plus years. Despite being such a young club, their efforts match those that have been around longer.
Mooney shares the same kind of pride when reflecting on the work that the organization has done over the years. She referenced multiple fundraisers, such as their annual fashion show, food drives and various community service projects, which includes their 2-year state project for child abuse prevention in New Jersey.
They’ve come together to knit hats for the Click for Babies Campaign, create crafts for residents in the assisted living community at the Atrium and donate funds to Special Olympics, just to name a few. Their philanthropic interests are diverse because they value the voice of everyone in the club and want to give back to as many causes as possible.
“Giving back to the community. That’s what we’re all about,” says Mooney. “We want to be recognized for our service work and for letting people know that if you don’t have something to eat, we’ll try to help.”
When she talks about her expectations for members, she reinforces that very same idea.
“We’re looking for friendship and we like to entertain, but we want them to understand that when they join us they know we’re going to give back, whether it be by fundraising or by rolling up our sleeves. They do realize that giving back means sometimes you have to dig into your own pocket,” says Mooney.
Though Mooney and O’Brien are coming to the end of their presidency, they will most likely remain lifelong members of the Greater Pascack Valley Woman’s Club. They both take such great pride and joy in the work that they do with the organization and can feel their efforts impacting the lives of others. Whether it be through a scholarship for a high school student, a donation to a campaign or a tradition of walking in the Tri-Boro Memorial Day Parade, these women look forward to helping the community as much as they can.
By Natalie Zisa