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Junior Woman’s Club looks to grow membership

Published: Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 2:52 p.m. CDT

DOWNERS GROVE – If there is a charity drive in Downers Grove, there’s a good chance the Junior Woman’s Club is volunteering or assisting in some way.

“We have donated more than 1 million hours of volunteer service, and more than a half-million dollars in donations to our community over the span of our club, over the past 50 years,” Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club Vice President Kelsey Austin said.

This month, it’s looking to grow its membership with a new member social event at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Emmett’s Ale House, 5200 Main St.

Anyone interested in joining or learning more about the club is invited to attend. The club is open to all women.

Austin said adding members will help the club’s efforts to expand its scholarship offerings in Downers Grove.

Last month, the group capped off a backpacks and back-to-school supplies drive with Hope’s Front Door, the human services charity in Downers Grove formerly known as The Walk-in Ministry.

“There is no way that we could provide the services that we do in the community without organizations like the Juniors,” said Hope’s Front Door Executive Director Janell Robinson. “They’ve also done some other things with us – coat drives, winter gear type things, mittens, gloves – which are a particular help to our homeless clients.”

Austin said when she joined the Juniors, she was surprised to find the level of need there is in the community.

“I wasn’t aware that people in Downers Grove needed as much help as they do,” she said. “And it’s nice to be able to help neighbors in the community when they need it. It helps Downers Grove to be a stronger community, so that’s great.”

Along with service, there is a social component, she said.

“I’ve made a lot of great friendships,” she said. “And that’s been very rewarding as well.We do have a lot of fun doing what we do. It’s definitely a way to get involved in the Downers Grove community while meeting a good group of friendly women. I would encourage anyone who is looking to give back to the community to join.”

In addition to the backpacks and clothing drives, the Junior Woman’s Club helps support families with food during the holidays through the Downers Grove Area FISH Food Pantry, among other efforts.

“We touch so many organizations in our community,” she said.

Austin said current membership numbers is in the 40s, and she would like to double that.

“We’ll be able to grow the amount of money that we give back to the community,” she said.

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