WAXAHACHIE — After breaking for the summer, the Century and Shakespeare clubs recently hosted the annual reassembly luncheon for the Federated Ladies Clubs of Ellis County.

A special donation to the Dinah Weable Breast Cancer Survivors nonprofit also highlighted this year's event, held Sept. 7 with over 50 members in attendance.

“We were pleased with the turnout of the reassembly,” began Shawnee Harding, treasurer of Trinity District. “The food and program were great.”

“When I was working at the table in the back, checking people in, there was a lull with new people coming in the door, and I said to one of the ladies, ‘Listen to that,’” she chuckled at the noise. “People were just talking up a storm, and they enjoyed visiting and seeing each other again.”

Among those in attendance were honored guests that included Grace Butler, Life Member of Trinity District; JoAnn Johnston, Life Member of Trinity District; Grace Tamminga, Life Member of Trinity District; Jane Ann Shipp, president of the Waxahachie City Federation of Women’s Clubs; and Dian Pope, printer of the year books for over 20 years

From the pink themed decorations to the appetizing buffet spread provided by Al Elmazi of Midlothian, and the delightful piano tunes of Carol Farrar, the president of Century Club, Fran Johnson, welcomed the guests and presided the meeting.

Uniting women across Texas since 1897, this year’s reassembly combined 15 clubs represented throughout Ellis County for a time of food and fellowship.

“We all know what we do, and we all help each other,” Harding recognized. “Although club work changes with the times, like when the right to vote for women went through and the Federated Women’s Club established about three-fourths of the libraries in Texas, education has always been important, that’s why most of us do scholarships and projects.”

Harding went on to explain that when the depression caused a financial strain on scholarship donations, former club members were asked to give a penny a day in hopes of continuing education among students.

“I thought, ‘Isn’t that neat,’” Harding recollected. “If you work hard enough, there’s always a way, and, of course, nowadays, when we pass the hat for scholarships we’d get a couple of hundred dollars, and we were able to make scholarships. And I thought, ‘Isn’t that amazing what women power can do?’”

“From a penny of day to bills or checks in a hat, there’s always a way if you work hard enough. And we felt that way when we donated Dinah,” she added. “We don’t normally take up donations, so that was the first time at the reassembly, but we did it because we knew where the funds were going – to help women that need mammograms and can’t afford it.”

What seemed to be a standard reassembly soon turned unique as the guest speaker, Dinah Weable presented a program of “Good Health," followed by a donation was made in her honor.

“It meant a lot to me to have been invited to speak,” expressed Dinah Weable of the Dinah Weable Breast Cancer Survivors non-profit. “I know there are a lot of people in Ellis County that do not know what the commission of our group is and how we utilize every penny of our donations to pay for mammograms.”

Since 2007, the-Weable-led nonprofit has paid for uninsured women to receive mammograms in Ellis County, recently passing the 1,000 mark since August.

“We have now paid for 1,008, and in 10 years we’ve managed to average 100 mammograms a year for uninsured women, and we just feel like that’s helping save women’s lives,” Weable acknowledged. She also noted partnerships with Hope Clinic and Baylor Scott and White Hospital.

“This is a great group of women in Ellis County that do a lot of great works in different organizations around here, and so to have the chance to be highlighted in what we do, I felt like that was a real privilege,” she emphasized.

As Weable both educated and entertained the reassembly, speaking of “the purpose in life” through illness, treatment, and recovery, the donation given raised over $625.

“We were pleasantly surprised,” Weable expressed. “The generosity of the attendees helped pay for mammograms right here in Ellis County.”

“Dinah is well liked and well appreciated in this town, and we appreciated her sharing her experiences with us,” Harding complimented.

As the meeting came to a close, Harding also pointed out a few upcoming events that included the City Federation Fall Meeting on Nov. 2., the Trinity District fall workshop on Oct. 7 in Jacksonville, Texas, and the TFWC fall board meeting scheduled for Sept. 13-16 in Austin, Texas.

Harding also mentioned that the City Federation would again collect calendars for the Veteran’s Hospital in the box by the front door of the Waxahachie Daily Light offices through December 31.

As October nears, Harding finishes by reminding members that regular meetings will resume as scheduled.


Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer