You’re invited to join us in giving back to our communities through our fundraiser Project Generosity! All contributions made to the Altrusa International Foundation, Inc. from March 20 to May 31 will count towards a fundraising challenge. By contributing to one of the Foundation programs you’re also contributing to your Altrusa Club’s chances of winning a service award!
The Debby Weber Fundraising Awards
These club awards are named in honor of former International Foundation Trustee Debby Weber. The top three Altrusa Clubs with the largest fundraising gifts, and top three Altrusa Clubs with the largest gifts per capita, will receive $1,500, $750, and $500 Service Awards!
Established in 1997, the Club 21 Program is committed to supporting programs for children affected by disease and disabilities; as well as international healthcare curriculum. As members of Club 21, we are given an opportunity to extend a hand to these children and families.
Thank you for your support.
Each month, the Foundation highlights the great work of Altrusa Clubs through the Grants Program. The spotlight this month is on “Attacking Social Isolation in Our Back Yard”, a service project completed by Altrusa International of Capital City, Virginia, Inc.
Social isolation is defined as the lack of social contacts and having few people to interact with regularly. You can live alone and not feel lonely or socially isolated and you can feel lonely while being with other people.
Altrusa International of Capital City partnered with the Beulah Church for the past five years. While the community has been in transit, the church has decided not to relocate. As a result, it faces transitional challenges including membership loss, changing demographics, population flights, economic downturns, volunteer absence and unemployment resulting in a large number of aging seniors in homes unable to move or do not want to move. They live among unknown neighbors that are constantly moving. Trying to cope with these seniors, the County and Church identified “lives of loneliness” and as a result of this partnership an unrealized community need was discovered. Many senior women were trapped in aged homes. They are single or widowed, aged and ill. They live alone void of social contacts and often have needs that providers have not identified.
“I have known Virginia Lauver for years through Beulah United Methodist Church. She lost her husband just before the holidays so it has been rough for her. She has enjoyed her baskets of remembrances and either gives me a call or sends me a card saying she can’t thank me enough for the thoughtfulness of each basket. She shares some of her items with her daughter.” – Connie Cook, McGuireWoods, LLP
The Altrusans and the Church addressed this critical need. They began with the outreach group at the church called “Seniors in Touch.” The club members decided to lead the charge to attack this problem and to create a program that will be worthy of replication in their communities and others.
The Altrusa Committee made arrangements for personal contacts to establish personal rapport and build friendships. They followed a carefully designed assessment that focuses on activities such as developing of cooperative relations with church, sheriffs’ aged program and other community partners. The participant pool was identified, defined and data collected. Identification included special needs, health, socialization skills, attitude and interests.
Sixteen seniors from the Beulah and surrounding communities were selected as participants in the project. Each senior was mentored by one or more Altrusa friends. The one-year project supported implementation of activities that target vulnerabilities. They included the sharing of books, print media such as cards and poems; telephone and texting; distribution of carefully selected recipes and inspiration books and other humorous and informative resources that promoted good friendship and caring. One such activity was the distribution of monthly “Love Baskets” to doorsteps. The contents were attractively packaged hand-made items that addressed a need or interest identified in a specifically designed telephone survey or personal contact. The items varied and ranged from riddles and jokes to encourage laughter, an address book to promote social contact among participants, artificial flower arrangements, strategies to relieve stress, framed motivational quotes, homemade greeting cards and note pads.
“Madalyn is the sister-in-law of our members Mary Anne Drew (now deceased). She is battling leukemia. She is quite a trooper. She goes into remission and then something starts acting up. At this moment she is struggling with problems with her legs swelling. We have been very fortunate to go out shopping, having lunch and visit with another isolated lady, Dee Kahn. Dee is a friend of Madalyn’s and she is struggling with dementia. Madalyn is so appreciative of everything being done for her and the wonderful baskets of good will she has received. She really enjoys it all and has shared it with some of the other residents at times. Even though Dee struggles with dementia, it is so worthwhile to visit with her and take her the baskets of kindnesses. She may not be able to tell you who gave them to her but her face lights up and she smiles at everything in the baskets. She sits there and looks at everything and that tells it all for her.” – Connie Cook, McGuireWoods, LLP
The Altrusans and partners identified a timeline of how each activity and experience including the recipe book, the book: “Feel Better Now”, bookmarks with inspirational verses, media and network building were sequenced. These and other program activities in addition to the tea event were united to accomplish the desired results
The results were incredible and are best summarized from this letter that the Club received from one of the participants:
“Dear members of the Altrusa of Capital City, VA.
Thanks for the many gifts you gave given me! The gifts brought sunshine to my days. It let me know that people were thinking of me, cared about me and I was not alone and forgotten. I had two back surgeries and am trying to walk with a walker and walking cane. Deason Frances Ellis has been a doll, very attentive and caring. Thanks again for your gifts, prayers and all you have done! May God Bless you!
Ophelia A. Tice.”
“Seniors in Touch” is considered a “cutting-edge” project for three reasons:
The $3,485 grant received from the Altrusa International Foundation helps to pay for the purchased of the various supplies for the “Love Baskets” including audio recorders, tapes, food, educational material, meeting locations, transportation and supplies for creating the cook books as well as printing the books . Grants of $250 to $4000 are available through sponsoring Altrusa Clubs or Districts from the Altrusa International Foundation to improve the economic well-being and quality of life through the foundation’s commitment to community service and literacy. With the advent of the coronavirus, the one-on-one meetings were so very important to the isolated seniors.
“Eleanor Anderson has received three gifts. She was excited to receive them. She enjoyed the one where you would walk around the block. It was a small wooden block. She said she could walk. She is improving from a stroke that impaired her left side. Thank so much for thinking of this great way to help someone who is shut in.” – Dorothy Thompkins
Established as a charitable corporation in 1962, the Altrusa International Foundation is committed to the service of goals and objectives of Altrusa International, Inc. Its sole purpose is to be an avenue through which Altrusans can assist Altrusa Clubs and other worthy organizations throughout the world, to carry out their programs of community service and assistance to those in need.
Leslie Johnson, Altrusa International Foundation Board of Trustees
Dr. Ida J Hill, Altrusa International of Capital City, Virginia
The Altrusa International Foundation was established in 1962 as the charitable arm of Altrusa International. It funds the development and implementation of effective community services and leadership programs around the world. In total, over three million dollars have been given in community service grants and educational scholarships through our international outreach, committed to improving economic well-being and quality of life.
In the past five years, we have:
Thank you for your support of the Altrusa International Foundation, Inc.