GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka fundraiser will really raise the roof

After more than a century of serving the Putnam County community, the GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka is asking for the area to return the favor as the group attempts to repair its clubhouse roof.

“What we do is give back to our community,” President Elizabeth van Rensburg said. “Needing a new roof on our historic clubhouse is a bit of a conundrum as it’s something we need to do for ourselves, for a change.”

The main club roof has slowly deteriorated over the last several years. Club members began to notice structural failures appearing on the front porch and throughout the roof, but the woman’s club was focused on giving to local charitable causes first and foremost.

“At the time though, we were busy with Pink Out Putnam, the Lee Conley House and March of Dimes,” van Rensburg said. “The list goes on and on of everything we are (here) to support. We made a mistake in that we put ourselves last, very last. And now we have a bit of an emergency.”

In efforts to put a new roof over the heads of the woman’s club, the group began fundraising last week for its new roof, which will cost about $14,000. To raise the funds, the group is selling crape myrtle trees and pork butts, along with hosting a barbecue and country rock concert June 22.

The concert will take place 7:30 p.m. — 9:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Clubhouse, 600 S. 13 St. in Palatka. The pork butts can also be picked up at the clubhouse on June 22 from 6 p.m. — 8 p.m., and the trees can be picked up earlier the same day. For more information, call 325-9318.

The woman’s club wanted to provide something of value to the community when it began its fundraising efforts, van Rensburg said. By providing the community a fun evening of music, dancing, good food and beautiful trees, the group does just that, she said.  

“Sometimes I get a little frustrated when organizations just put out their hand and say, ‘Give to me,’” she said.  “So instead, we are offering the community beautiful crepe myrtles, the best pork butts around. … and then the dinner and the country rock concert, that is just really fun.”

Putnam County Commissioner Larry Harvey said he and the rest of the Putnam County Board of Commissioners would take the lead cooking the pork butts and barbecue. The woman’s club facility is often used by the community, he said, making its future important to the county.

“The commissioners here are very community oriented,” Harvey said. “That facility is a well-used facility by a lot of different groups in our community. … Anything we can do to help them raise money and put a new roof on it, we will be glad to do.”

If the community supports the efforts and makes the fundraising endeavor successful, the woman’s club will have a secure place to call home in Palatka as it continues to support charitable causes and the community, just as it has since the late 1800s.

“I think it is nearly impossible to help our community without having a strong foundation ourselves,” van Rensburg said. “What could be a stronger foundation than a healthy, historic clubhouse? So, the roof is just imperative.”

Palatka Daily News

1825 St. Johns Ave.
Palatka, FL 32177
(386) 312-5200


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