Munsey Park Women’s Club uses fun and community to enrich the village
The Munsey Park Women’s Club organizes fun events throughout the year for both children and adults to help foster friendships among village residents. They help bring families together to create special memories and appreciate village of Munsey Park. Some events include the Children’s Halloween parade, cocktail parties or wine tastings, the “Shop Around the Block” holiday event, Christmas tree lighting, Children’s Easter egg hunt, and an end-of-the-school-year outdoor movie night.
Saskia Valentine, co-president of the Women’s Club, has been involved for about ten years. She describes the club as “both a community club and a non-profit. We’ve been in existence for over 80 years. The primary purpose of our club is to strengthen the friendliness and civic responsibility among our neighbors within our village and. of course, cast a wider net to the Manhasset community. We have a board of about 24 members that include chairs for kids events, adult events, and philanthropic events.”
The club’s non-profit arm, The Munsey Park Women’s Club Philanthropic Inc., raises money through annual events like Light the Night and the Children’s Fun Run to support local charitable causes and village beautification projects. The biggest fundraising event of the year, the Children’s Fun Run and Fair, took place June 3. About 175 children participated in a 1-mile fun run and then ejoyed children’s games and raffles in Waldmann Memorial Park afterward. The Club raises money through sponsorship opportunities and registration fees. The money goes to Project Share, with any remaining going into the philanthropic account to allow for future scholarships, donations, and village beautification projects.
Light the Night, an annual event that takes place in December, raises money through the sale of luminary kits, which are then displayed around residents’ homes. Residents purchase a luminary kit that includes 10 bags, 10 plastic containers, and 10 little candles with double sided tape. The kits are assembled at Spectrum Enterprises. “It’s beautiful, we light them around five o’clock and everyone walks the streets. This was a big deal during COVID because we were all outside, so it was nice. People would have a hot chocolate, coffee, a drink in their hand, and they would walk the streets and see all of Munsey Park lit up. Not every neighbor did it, but many did. And it was lovely, especially during COVID,” said Valentine.
Money from Light the Night and other fundraisers like the buy-a-brick project go towards flowers, parks and ponds around the village to help build a sense of pride in the community. The club is also in charge of the village tree lighting. “People light their lanterns outside their houses and then they walk on down to the pond and see the tree lighting and Santa. The fire department always comes with Santa on the fire truck. The kids look forward to that. And I think it’s just going to keep getting better because each year we think about ways to improve it,” said Christobel Gutow, the Club’s other co-president.
In fiscal year 2022, MPWC Philanthropic gave approximately $14,000 back to the community, with the largest portion of that money going to the Manhasset SCA’s Project Share, a group that works with Manhasset Schools to provide food, clothing, school supplies, and other necessities to economically-challenged families in the school district. The rest of the money went to Community Service Award scholarships that were granted to two Manhasset High School seniors.
In fiscal year 2023, they are projecting to give approximately $19,000 in financial support across Project Share, the Community Service Award scholarships, the Manhasset Student Aid Association, the Manhasset Coalition Against Breast Cancer, the One Love Outreach Mission and Tower Foundation of Manhasset.
Giving the Community Service Award Scholarship is a highlight of the year. Students from Manhasset High School who have an exceptional record of service are invited to submit an essay and letters of recommendation for consideration. “These students don’t have to be great athletes or straight A students or anything like that. The essay is purely about what they’ve contributed to their community. It doesn’t have to be to Manhasset (specifically). It could be Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, volunteering at Adventures In Learning, tutoring, or starting a club to help children with special needs. Some of them are in groups that are trying to improve local ecology. When you when you read these essays, it’s amazing what these kids can do and also get through their senior year of high school,” Gutow said.
Looking to the future, Gutow outlined plans for another festival that would take place in the fall, closer to the beginning of the school year. “We would love to create a Fall Festival that starts off kind of small, by one of the ponds, where we would invite food trucks and we’d have like some kids’ events with some live music. Again, still not a festival with rides, but just something very simple towards the end of September, early October before it gets too busy with the holidays. That’s something we would like to do.”
The Club is looking to expand membership and get more women from the community involved. Valentine shared, “we typically have about between 100 and 120 members a year. I think there’s just over 800 residents in Munsey Park, of all ages. So we would definitely be happy to have more.”
For more information, visit http://www.munseyparkwomensclub.org/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
—with additional information from the Munsey Park Women’s Club