Rejuvenated Comm. Club aims to be a go-to resource

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The Community Club of Canton was founded in 1912 with the mission to unite all women of Canton in fellowship and service to the end that the highest interest of the town may be served. One of the earliest projects that the original members engaged in was to bring a hot lunch to the town’s school children. The women cooked the meal and took it to the schools — an early precursor to today’s school lunch program.

Peg Keddy, Jill Hayes, Tony Andreotti and Reuki Schutt

Peg Keddy, Jill Hayes, Tony Andreotti and Reuki Schutt

“They were definitely pioneers,” Jill Hayes said.

Hayes joined the club in 2004 because she wanted to get more involved with the town. Now a co-president along with Reuki Schutt, Hayes is hoping that other women will join the club, which is focusing on meeting the needs of people in town. The club’s latest project is a drive to collect personal care products, gift certificates, and special needs items for veterans.

The members of the Community Club are planning to provide support for projects in Canton and to join with other clubs and groups in town to help others in a time of need. “We want to be the ones that people go to for community service projects,” Hayes said. “If something came up and someone said, ‘We should do something about it,’ we would use our network to reach out and mobilize to fill that need.”

The Community Club holds meetings at Pequitside Farm at 11:30 on the second Tuesday of each month. Subcommittees meet first, followed by lunch, and then the general meeting for all members. Club members donate items each month for the Canton Food Pantry, such as dry cereal, and for local veterans, such as socks. The donated items are changed monthly. For many years, members who knit and quilt have created original handmade quilts and clothing items for the vets. “The meetings are always open for people to come,” Hayes said.

Members create candy favors for residents of local nursing homes for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, fulfill wish list requests for the students at the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children, and support scholarships for Canton High School graduates.

“We’ll continue to do the things we’ve done,” Hayes said.

There are presently 46 members in the club, but they are looking to increase the membership in order to have a bigger impact on the town.

Hayes said that the Community Club commissioned a study committee during the past year which recommended that the club connect with other clubs and that they connect with students, making them associate members and adding an extra layer of membership. They also recommended streamlining the administrative roles. When the club was formed, there was a recording secretary and a corresponding secretary. The club has moved away from those positions and is now using social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

They are also aware that many women who hold jobs may want to join the club but are not able to attend daytime meetings. The next meeting of the Community Club will be held on Thursday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Canton Public Library.

The November 9 meeting coincides with the club’s Veterans Day drive. Collection boxes will be available at the library, police station, fire station, and Town Hall and both the downtown and Route 138 locations of the Bank of Canton between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Members are asking for a number of items that will be donated to local veterans, including bar soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes; gift certificates to Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid; and underwear, sweaters, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and sneakers for men and women. They are also asking for special items like back bags for wheelchairs, sporting event tickets, and cribbage, scrabble, chess and checkers games.

For more information, go to the Community Club of Canton Facebook page or Twitter @CommunityCanton.

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