Yesterday I joined the local women's club which supports not only the local elementary school, scholarships and the food pantry but maintains the local library as well.
I've spent five months here primarily sitting at home and not getting to know very many people. I knew I needed some type of involvement that would be beneficial both ways. In this group, I've definitely found it.
Our library is the ONLY remaining library in the U.S. owned and operated by a woman's club. We maintain the building, equipment, grounds, and pay salaries, etc. A library board handles management, policies, supervision, material selection and programming. I would have nave known the library was NOT supported by taxes.
One reason I agreed to move to this area is because it offered two of my favorite things, a thrift store and library. Both are owned by the womens' club. Today I did my first four hour shift as a volunteer at the store. I have not spent four hours on my feet working in awhile but it was fun, relaxing, informative and made me feel like part of a great community.
Of course, working there, you get first dibs on donations! I came home with four items. One long prairie skirt was free because a ONE inch piece of the waistband was coming apart!
I said I'd fix that in no time. Next thing I know people were asking if I was a seamstress or did mending. I can't fathom that no one here does such a thing but these women had never heard of anyone so I have a new income stream. The said to make up some business cards & run an ad in the weekly paper. "You'll be swamped!" Not sure I want to be so for now I'll see what develops via word of mouth.
As the club president said, "Now that we know we have another volunteer, you'll be busy."
That has its plus side, like hearing about items for sale before they're advertised or where to buy the best pizza or what repairman to avoid and who raises chickens and sells eggs and what to expect at the next Seafood Fest in November.
It's those community insiders that hold the answers we would otherwise develop on our own via trial and error. Not that this is a bad thing, but having the inside scoop does save time and money.