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Durham Womens Club chili booth, at the Durham Fair, is the organization's sole fundraiser. | (Submitted.)

Women’s club provides fun and fundraising


When it comes to those in need, our community has never been short on people with open hearts and deep pockets. A good number of those open hearts belong to the members of the Durham Women’s Club.

President, Eileen Buckheit sums it up: “The Durham Women’s Club is a wonderful organization made up of many dedicated volunteers in our town. Our club provides vital community service where it is needed. We proudly give back to our community while we learn and grow from each other, and have a great time along the way.”

The club is open to women from Durham, and now from Middlefield as well (their chapter is no longer functioning), and is a chapter of the Connecticut Junior Women, a statewide organization dedicated to community service.

Kim Tobin, who is in charge of recruiting members, gave a rundown on some of the club’s activities: a monetary donation to the library every year; sponsorship of girls’ softball teams; scholarships for local students; help in the form of food, gift cards, or cash to needy families, especially for the holidays; roadside clean-up twice a year; providing seniors with breakfast on the day of their graduation; Teacher Appreciation (big trays of baked goods are delivered to each school in the district, along with goodie bags for the bus drivers); donations to the Go Far program, a youth fitness and wellness program (they also provide granola bars, fruit, and water to the kids on the day they do the run in town); donations to the Community Round-up in December, and providing the volunteers with hot chocolate, coffee, fruit, and pastries on the day of the event; and donations to a project chosen by Connecticut Junior Women (the current long-term projects are Homes for the Brave, which, with an emphasis on veterans, provides housing services to the homeless; and to Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes, a transitional home in Bridgeport for homeless female veterans and their children up to ten years of age).

“Our only fundraiser is the chili booth we have at the Durham Fair,” Tobin said. “The money we make determines how much we can donate to the various causes.”

And while the members of the Durham Women’s Club are lending a helping hand to anyone who needs it, they also are having their share of fun. Every year they have a holiday dinner in December (everyone brings a toy for a child in need), a dinner in February to recruit members, and an induction ceremony and dinner in May.

“If someone wants to put something together and we’re feeling antsy, we’ll do it. We might have a quick meeting and then go bowling. We’ve gone to Timeout Tavern. Part of our group is being social,” Tobin said,

Meetings are once a month at Coginchaug Regional High School, from September through May. Membership fees are $25 a year.

“The women are in all different stages of life,” Tobin said, “and this is a great way for them to meet. We don’t ask a lot from our members. They can choose what they want to volunteer for, though everyone must commit to working eight hours in the chili booth at the fair.”

“The club gives women in town a chance to connect and bond,” Buckheit said. “And it gives us all a chance to give back to our community and be a part of the reason our town is so special.”

For more information about membership, call Eileen Buckheit at (860)349-5166 or e-mail her at sbuckheit5@comcast.net, or call Kim Tobin at (860)395-9063.



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