Published May 20, 2021 in The Burg
Altrusa International of Galesburg was named winner of the District Six Mamie L. Bass Service Award on Saturday, May 8. “This award is particularly meaningful to our club because it recognizes service to our community. We believe that is the backbone of our club,” said Altrusa President Janet Mottaz, who accepted the award at the virtual conference.
The club has performed a service project every month this year in the Knox County area, despite the pandemic. The award was specifically based on Altrusa’s support for Blessing Boxes. The honor is chosen by a neutral panel from submissions by 22 clubs in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Galesburg Altrusa first filled all the Blessing Boxes as their October Make a Difference Day project. “We were looking for a way to serve while being mindful of Covid restrictions,” Mottaz said. “Blessing Boxes seemed like a great opportunity.” The club joined the Blessing Boxes Facebook page, learned their guidelines for donation, and spoke to community coordinators. Two members then volunteered to shop with $250 appropriated from a previously undesignated portion of the club’s Service Project budget.
The volunteers purchased appropriate items, from food to laundry detergent to gloves, which were then divided into cardboard boxes in a centrally located member’s garage. Members were also encouraged to donate personally to the effort. Nancy Wilson, the club’s Service Chair, printed cards with the address of each Blessing Box. Each member came separately to the garage on Oct. 26, picked up a container of items, and used those resources to fill the Blessing Box indicated on the card. They texted their success to the “headquarters,” and many took pictures of their endeavors to share on social media and thereby expand the influence of the Blessing Boxes.
At the next monthly meeting, members were enthusiastic about their Make a Difference Day efforts and consequently decided to make Blessing Boxes an official project. Several members “adopted” a Blessing Box near their home or church. They filled the boxes informally and reported the frequency of their use to the group. Stories of those helped by the boxes were shared, and in February the club again filled 14 boxes as a Valentine’s Day group project. This time they doubled their donations by partnering with Thrivent Financial. Their grant of $250 meant Altrusans could give $500 worth of materials. Once again, Altrusans shopped, sorted, and distributed the items.
The success of this project has led to more Blessing Box fillings. Anonymous contributions from community members have expanded the donations. The club’s latest round of fillings occurred April 24.
“One of Altrusa’s best rules is that money raised in our community must be used for the community,” Mottaz said. “From on-going projects to special events, we’re always on the lookout for ways we can contribute to the greater good.”
To find out more about Altrusa or to join their efforts, follow Altrusa International of Galesburg on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.