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Our History

The  St. Andrews Woman’s Club was organized by 21 women interested in creating a  better community in the growing St. Andrews area of the Midlands.  On March 15, 1963, the club was chartered by the South Carolina Federation of  Women’s Clubs. In 1990, SCFWC became the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of  South Carolina. St. Andrews Woman’s Club has been an active member in GFWC-SC  with large representation at conventions, hosting state and district functions,  and many members serving at the state level.

  

Club member, Marian St. Clair, served as  president of GFWC-SC from 2002-2004, and is the current GFWC President-elect; she previously served as GFWC First Vice President. Club member,  Kristin Fields is the current GFWC-SC First Vice President.  Club member, Laurie O‘Kelly, served as  GFWC-SC President for the 2010-2012 term and she is now serving as GFWC-SC  Spotlight 20/20 Co-chair, Database Coordinator, GFWC Budget and Finance Committee and GFWC Southern Region Treasurer.  Club Member, Beth Taylor is now serving as GFWC-SC Treasurer. Club member, Tonja Ivey  is now serving as GFWC-SC Clubwoman Magazine Editor and Website. Club Member, Gail Elfert is now serving as GFWC-SC Protocol Chairman. Club Member, Kaye Hunke is now serving as GFWC-SC Finance Committee Chairman. Club Member, Susan Swails is now serving on GFWC-SC Trustees of Progress Foundation and Headquarters Committee. Club Member Susan Smith is now serving on GFWC-SC Headquarters Committee. Club Member Barbara Willimas is now serving on GFWC-SC Headquarters Committee. Cub Member, Kaye Jones is now serving on GFWC-SC State Elections Committee. Membership increased and from 1965 through  1973, the club operated two divisions, Morning and Evening, Membership has been  fostered through the years with membership teas, SAWC Membership pins, and  awards such as the Outstanding Clubwoman Award established in 1972 and the  Dianne McCarty Spirit Award established in 1995.  The club celebrated its 20th, 25th,  30th and 50th anniversaries with parties at GFWC-SC  Headquarters and set aside a time capsule in its 25th year, which  was opened in August 1998. In November of 2013, the celebration of the 50th  anniversary was held. Past Club members, current members and six of the charter  members attended.


PROGRAMS: A  wide range of monthly programs represents both the diverse interests of club  members and the changing concerns of the times. Each monthly meeting is hosted  by a Community Service Program committee and they secure a speaker to spotlight  a topic of interest for that CSP.


ST. ANDREWS COMMUNITY   RECREATION CENTER: The  St. Andrews School, built in 1910 as the one-room Nates’ School, was unused in  1963 and deeded to the St. Andrews Recreation Association for use as a  Recreation Center.  Club members  renovated the Center and by 1968, monthly club meetings were held there. In the  late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the club sponsored a girls softball team,  chaperoned youth parties at the Center, placed billiard tables in the center,  and contributed to the establishment of the St. Andrews Swimming Pool (adjacent  to the Community Center). The club continued to use and improve the Community  Center until the disbanding Recreation Association returned ownership to the School District in 1996.


ST. ANDREWS LIBRARY: In  the summer of 1964 club members pooled their resources and began a library  project with 65 hard cover books in a corner of St. Andrews Elementary School.   That fall the library moved to a room in the Community Center and was  staffed by club members two days a week. By July 1966, 1200 books per month  were loaned and Richland County Library supported the club’s efforts to locate  a permanent site. After 13 bad leads, a site was offered by Home Federal  Savings & Loan on Bush River    Road and in August, 1967, ground breaking  ceremonies were held. The St. Andrews Woman’s Club was recognized for its  efforts in obtaining the library for the community. In 1968, the club formed  the Friends of the Library, a community support group that is still active  today for libraries throughout Richland   County. The popular  library finally outgrew its original building and in 1992 moved to a new  facility on Broad River Road. Club members celebrated the library’s progress  with a monetary contribution of $5,000. As the needs of the St. Andrews Branch  Library diminished, the club expanded its support to the Irmo Branch of the  Lexington County Library and has continued to support school libraries and  literacy efforts.


FUND-RAISING: St.  Andrews Woman’s Club has employed a variety of fund-raisers to support its many  community activities. Early projects included bake sales, talent shows,  fruitcake sales, flea markets, the inevitable cookbook sales, and craft  auctions. In 1966, the club sponsored its first Fashion Show and Bridge benefit  netting $300; this project was repeated until 1981. The first St. Andrews Woman’s Club Bridal  Showcase was held in 1982. That first year was difficult, but the Showcase  registered 194 brides and netted $1,845.  With a successful fundraiser established, the  club has been able to make significant contributions to community projects such  as the American Cancer Society, the Children’s Garden, St. Andrews Kids Café,  Canoeing for Kids, Nancy K Perry Children’s Shelter, Nurturing Center, Sexual  Trauma Services of the Midlands, Sharing God’s Love, SisterCare, Dream Riders,  Woman’s Shelter, Operation Smile, First Steps-Lexington County, Family Shelter,  The Special Minds Foundation, Mental Illness Recovery Center Inc., InVest USA,  The Free Medical Clinic, Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter, Birthright of  Columbia, Home Works of South Carolina, Capital Senior Center, Habitat for  Humanity and Family Connections of South Carolina. Bridal Showcase was so  successful that commercial businesses began to offer their own competing bridal  fairs. The last SAWC Bridal Showcase was held in 2015 and the club searched for  new fundraising opportunities.  In the  2016-17 club year the club raised funds through sponsoring a night at Town  Theater, an evening of Bunco fun and also participated in the Belk Charity  Sales Days. 


COMMUNITY SERVICE: Community  service projects through the years have benefited the St. Andrews area as well  as South Carolina  with thousands of hours of volunteer service.  In addition to, the Community Center and the  Library, the St. Andrews Directory, a newcomer’s guide to the growing area, was  produced every other year from 1964 until the early 1980’s.  Big Bird’s Birthday Party provided  preschoolers with hearing, vision, and dental screening, health and safety  presentations, and a party with several Sesame Street characters.  This project began in 1965-1966  with vision screening for just one school and  expanded in the 1970’s until the annual Big Bird party was (a two day event)  that provided screenings for many area children. In 1987, state law mandated such  screenings and the Big Bird party was discontinued. 

During  the 1970’s, the club sponsored events for the girls residing at Willow Lane   School, and in the  1980’s, attention was focused on the Carolina Children’s Home. For three years,  the Judy Thomas Cottage was adopted by the club and year-round support was  provided.  Hot Line Heavies, a summary of  crisis and intervention phone numbers for teens, was produced regularly from the  mid 1970’s until the page was incorporated into the Rainbow Guide to Parenting  for Prevention published by the L/RADAC in 1995. Education has always been  emphasized and the club has offered college scholarships, citizenship awards,  special class sponsorship, and literacy programs. Interest in international  events included rallies for Vietnam  soldiers in the 1960’s and culminated in the club’s active support of a sister  club in the Philippines  in the 1990’s. For highway safety, one of the club’s first project supported  installation of the first traffic light in the St. Andrews area at Broad River  at Bush River Roads. Club members endorsed both seat belt and child restraint  use and legislation, and the club initiated the first car seat loaner  program in the Midlands. Many American Cancer  Society projects have been supported including raising funds for cancer  research via Send a Mouse to College, participation in Lexington County Jail’n Bails  and Cancer support groups, and sponsoring a Christmas Tour of Homes to  establish the Lexington County Breast Cancer Survivor Fund in the 1990’s.  Hundreds of projects focusing on community improvement and fostering a better  environment have continued each year. They include Adopt a Highway, Relay for  Life, Operation Smile, and Harvest Hope Food Bank to name a few.  St. Andrews Woman’s Club continues to make a  difference in our community and beyond!