As we close out 2021, I can’t help but reflect on my years as president of North Fork Women. Two years ago, when I agreed to take over the lead of the organization, I had no idea that Covid-19 would hit and really hamper our organization’s events and programs. For a short period of time, we were stymied, but with the work of our dedicated, creative and responsive Board and many volunteers from our community, we were able to do some great things over the Covid years.
We began a Covid Relief Fund and provided money, gift cards and support for community organizations, health care workers and restaurants in the area.
We turned our weekly blast into a Covid-related resource for our members.
We began our Connection Series, a monthly Zoom event dedicated to health, welfare and educational seminars.
We worked with Suffolk County to arrange for our members to get the Covid vaccine.
We partnered with CJ’s American Grill to offer valentine dinners to our members.
We did a beach cleanup, and when we felt we were able to get together, we held our first in person, bring your own, beach event to celebrate Pride.
We began a marketing campaign with North Fork Women hats, window clings and, of course, masks, to make our organization more visible to the community at large.
We rolled out a simpler, new name and logo for the organization.
We provided outdoor fitness classes for our members
When able to, we provided a breakfast meeting for our breast cancer Thrivers.
We started a phone tree to call our members and check in on their wellness during the height of Covid.
We donated toys to Kait’s Angels.
We continued our Help Her program and arranged for our members to get transportation to important appointments.
We continued to provide Life Lines for members living alone.
We awarded over $28,000 in grants to members who needed our support.
Over the past few months, we felt comfortable beginning to offer some of our more traditional events, and of course worked to make those events as safe as possible. We held a very successful Jan Swanson Labor Day Auction in September, had the largest turnout at our Oyster Extravaganza in October and brought back First Friday Friends.
At our last FFF at East on Main, Colette Clayton, Margaret Cowden and Cindy Ickes were there with guitars, microphones and their new sound system to entertain us. What a wonderful trio. Our thanks go out to Marg, Collette and Cindy for a wonderful evening. We also would like to thank everyone who brought a toy to donate to Kait’s Angels that night. It was a last minute decision to ask for donations, but, as always, our members came through with over 50 gifts for needy kids. Thank you!
Speaking of donations, we are doing well with our End of Year Appeal. If you have already donated, thank you very, very much. If you have not donated yet, there is still time to do so. Any amount, large or small, will be put to good use as we move into 2022 and continue to provide services and support for lesbians on the North Fork.
Some other important information… As you know, we are always looking for new Board members to help the organization along. This year we added two new members and I ask you to join me in welcoming Kristen Phelan and Kim Stredney. They are enthusiastic, full of fun and I believe they will add to our efforts as we move forward. I would also like to announce that Patricia Feeley will retire from the Board this year, after 7 years of service. Patricia has been a great Board member with the major responsibility of organizing our yearly Oyster Extravaganza. When I went to my first Oyster event, there were about 35 women there. This year we had 81 registrants and I believe Patricia’s work has really contributed to this event’s success. Thank you, Patricia.
As I step down from the presidency, I would like to thank the Board, our members and, of course, Barb Pfanz for a wonderful two years. I am humbled by the experience, and grateful to all of you for your help and your support. I wish Elly Thomas the absolute best as she takes over the presidency on January 1, 2022. Elly has been on the Board since 2017 and has served as treasurer since that time. She will be a wonderful president and I look forward to working with her in her new role.
I wish all of you a great holiday season and a very, very healthy and happy New Year.