The Wilton Woman’s Club kicked off their 50th anniversary year with their first meeting of the 2015-16 season yesterday, Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Trackside Teen Center. Approximately 50 women, including several new and prospective members, gathered to start their year’s activities and celebrate the history of the club. At the morning breakfast was Betty Sternad, who founded the club 50 years ago and served as its first president.

Sternad’s daughter, Shelley Dempsey, who is also a member of the Woman’s Club, talked about how she remembered her mother and friends on the back porch discussing how to start the club and what they wanted to do. She said that it was inspirational to watch women who gave back to the community not just through fundraising but also by their own hard work and volunteer time.

When she was introduced, Sternad was applauded for her contributions, and she thanked the club’s current members for carrying on the traditions and philanthropic work the club has done over the years. Club officers shared memorabilia and newspaper clippings they found in the Wilton Library history room. Among the things discovered were newspaper stories about the club’s inaugural project in 1966, supporting the clean up of the Norwalk River–something the members found surprisingly coincidental, given that this year’s designated recipient of the Woman’s Club annual fashion show fundraiser will be the Norwalk River Valley Trail.

Club members reviewed its extensive history and tradition of volunteer service and financial support for various community projects, including the work members did in the early years to support the creation of Merwin Meadows, the Wilton YMCA and Wilton Social Services. The club has continued to be instrumental over the 50 years in providing support in many ways, through Adopt-a-Spot, the Senior Center, Wilton’s first bicycle path, emergency services ambulance equipment, the Vial of Life medical information program, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the home-bound, senior lunch and bingo, and blood and flu clinics. Among the many organization the club continues to support both financially and through volunteer hours are Person-to-Person, Circle of Care, Wilton Social Services, the CT Food Bank, Ogden House and more.

To learn more about the Wilton Woman’s Club visit their website.

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