MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Celebrating the 103rd anniversary of the Maplewood Woman’s Club, members gathered at the club’s former home on Woodland Road to reflect on what they had accomplished during 2018 and to look ahead to the future. The Woman’s Club recently began holding their meetings at The Woodland again, after selling the building to the town of Maplewood in 2013.
“It feels like we got our house back, so we’re happy about that,” President JoAnn Aponte said in an interview with the News-Record at the event on Dec. 7. “We’re 103 years old and boy, do we look good for 103.”
Aponte said that during the last year, the Woman’s Club has donated funds and supplies to homeless shelters and the Court Appointed Special Advocates, a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to represent in court children who have been removed from their homes due to domestic violence. Aponte is herself a volunteer for CASA.
The Woman’s Club also sponsored a class of special education students in Newark in their efforts to put on a school musical. Closer to home, members donated $300,000 to the South Orange-Maplewood School District for scholarships for graduating Columbia High School seniors.
“Education is really important to us,” Aponte said. “We’ve also donated $100,000 to the library so they can do repairs. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done. We meet all over and we help everywhere we can.”
In addition, the club packed Christmas stockings for members of the armed forces who are stationed away from home, as well as for veterans. More than 1,000 stockings were sent out from the Maplewood Woman’s Club.
Evening members of the Woman’s Club, who meet at night, held their own fundraisers this year. These included holding a large charity garage sale and making Thanksgiving dinner baskets for residents who did not have access to food during the holiday.
“We have 11 very active members,” evening group member Joanne Cronin said in an interview with the News-Record at the event. “We’ll start up again in February with collecting socks to give to people around Easter for children and adults. We have a good time. We just enjoy helping people; that’s our goal with everything that we do.”
Mayor Vic DeLuca thanked the members of the Woman’s Club for the work they do.
“We’re very happy to have you here,” he said at the event. “It’s so important for us to recognize everything that you’ve done for us here. I’m glad you’re back here meeting in this building. This will always be the Woman’s Club’s home.”
Photos by Amanda Valentovic