Ds Scholarship

‘Joy of Giving’ event awards funds to Lake Houston area charities

There were tears, laughter, and joy, lots of joy in the Magnolia Room at the Clubs of Kingwood Thursday night as the Kingwood Women’s Club celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by shelling out the green to several area charities.

Women stood and cheered as they listened to a Lone Star College-Kingwood student who was a grateful recipient of scholarship money that was raised and donated by the Women’s Club.

Melanie McCulley was thankful to the club for raising the money and to the college for awarding her the scholarship.

“I had to take out a loan on my 401k so that I could pay for school because I don’t qualify for financial aid,” she said. “The scholarship helped, particularly during one of my last semesters which was one of the more expensive ones, and it covered my whole tuition so that was less of a burden for me.”

McCulley graduated in December and begins work full time as a registered respiratory therapist on March 28 at Texas Children’s Hospital in The Woodlands. The gift and new job will change her life.

“I brought my daughter with me tonight so that she could see all of your wonderful people who help people like me. Thank you so much,” she said.

Hers was only one of many success stories stemming from the donations made by the club to deserving philanthropies.

“Being able to give away $130,000 is really a joy,” said Kathy Adkins, vice president of ways and means, the fundraising arm of the organization.

“The club began 36 years ago and part of what we do is when we see a need in our community, we as an organization try to do something about it,” she said.

They are in their 24th year with the annual holiday marketplace that has grown to become a huge event in the Humble and Kingwood area.

“We raise well over $100,000 every year and because of that, we have exceeded giving more than $1.44 million dollars over the last two decades,” she said.

Club president Ellie Csengery was pleased to see so many shoppers return to the popular marketplace after COVID had forced them to cancel the event.

“These funds are sorely needed in our area and will make a big difference during these difficult times.”

This year, they created a second fundraiser, the Mardi Gras Ball. They raised an additional $8,000 with the inaugural ball and added that to the coffers for this year’s giving. The event was attended by 270-plus patrons.

The pandemic curtailed the club’s giving and in-person activities the last two years, but they have come back as strong as ever with 150-plus engaged members.

Adkins said each of the members are required to give at least 50 volunteer hours through their various projects.

“In addition to that, we are all required to work with our fundraising efforts, so everybody does something to help,” Adkins said.

In April, new officers will be elected and after three years, Adkins said she will step down from her administrative role in the club.

“I’ve been a member for 27 years and it is surely one of the best things of my life. I can’t imagine not being with these women. I love them. I love working with them. They’re fun to work with, play with, and their heart is in it,” the tearful vice president said.

At the end of every year, the club members go on an annual pilgrimage.

“It’s not religious in nature, but a long weekend that one of our members plans for the purpose of having fun and fellowship. We sort of pat ourselves on the back for all the hard work we’ve done throughout the year, and it helps bring the membership together,” she said.

The last week of March they will pack their bags for New Braunfels where they’ll stay at the Marriott, have dinner at the Faust Hotel, do a lot of shopping and much more.

The main requirement for membership? Be willing to come and participate and want to give back to help the community.

To learn more about the organization and becoming a member, visit kingwoodwomensclub.org.

They meet at the Clubs of Kingwood each month on the third Thursday of the month at 9 am in the Magnolia Room.

Here’s the organizations receiving funds this year at the “Joy of Giving” event:

The Humble Area Assistance Ministries or HAAM will use the funds to provide emergency assistance with rent, utilities, food, prescriptions and transportation for those in need; As well as to support the senior Meals on Wheels program and cover the cost of a bilingual intake specialist.

The Society of Saint Stephens will use the funds to purchase food and provide financial assistance for those facing an emergency financial crisis.

Project Mammogram will use the funds to pay for free screening, mammograms, ultrasounds, and biopsies for the uninsured or underinsured.

The Lone Star College Foundation will use the funds for scholarships.

Family Time Crisis & Counseling Center will use the funds to support a shelter and support services for women and children who are victims of abuse.

Mission Northeast will use the funds to purchase food and hygiene items from the Montgomery County Food Bank to help those in need.

Feed My Lambs will use the funds to purchase Christmas baskets for residents in an apartment complex that serves the elderly, handicapped and needy.

The Friends of the Library in Kingwood will use the funds to purchase books and materials for the children’s library collection.

The Gathering Place will use the funds to help provide respite care and activities for those suffering from memory loss, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and other disabilities.


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