Service clubs, some say, are old school.
Gofundme.com and endless social media sites of the virtual world are making the real world better. At least that is what those getting fabulously rich off the Internet would argue. There’s no doubt they do good but they are more for the cause du jour. They aren’t weaving the threads that tie the fabric of a community together.
They also take place without interaction relying instead on the virtual world accessed by a screen and not in person.
The footprints where organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Soroptimists and other service clubs have walked can be found throughout a community. Sometimes you can’t see where they’ve been but you or someone you know has likely been impacted by their efforts
Manteca Soroptimists is a prime example.
The 35-member strong club that is conducting a free wine tasting Saturday, Sept. 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Tuscany Room at Dellicato Family Vineyards, 12001 Highway 99 for those interested in finding more about the organization and possiblly becoming a member, has helped strength Manteca’s community fabric for 65 years.
Some of their handiwork is visible, most of it is not.
Carol Nunes recalls years ago how the Soroptimists gifted the Manteca Fire Department its very first Jaws of Life. The very next day after the department received it, firefighters used it to extract trapped passengers in a horrific accident on Lathrop Road.
Then there is the club’s signature project.
Thirty-two years ago a cluster of teen suicides rocked the community. Four promising lives ended in a suicide pact.
The Soroptimists — a collection of business and professional women brought together by the drive to serve the community — stepped up. They made a significant donation to help Manteca Unified secure on-campus counselors from Valley Community Counseling Services. Since then they have donated $350,000 to help sustain crisis counseling for Manteca teens.
“You don’t really know who you are helping,” Nunes noted.
But it doesn’t matter to Soroptimists. Just knowing they are helping provide a place for troubled teens to turn in their darkest moments is good enough for them.
The Soroptimists’ effort with the teen crisis counseling has paid dividends in keeping teens from losing their lives when dark thoughts overwhelm them dealing with things such as parents divorcing, a family member with substance abuse problems, the death of a parent or sibling, and handling other pressures.
Barbara Brocchini, the Manteca club’s president, noted growing up in Manteca the organization was looked upon as a go-to group of ladies that could tackle community needs by supporting non-profits and joining forces with other clubs to provide things such as the community’s first Little League fields.
“It’s good knowing you can make a difference in Manteca,” Brocchini said.
The difference the Soroptimists make include providing scholarships not just for high school grads but single moms seeking to continue their education to supporting non-profits such as the HOPE Family Shelter and the Boys & Girls Club. They also conduct seminars to inspire girls to be the best they can be.
And then there is the Manteca Christmas tradition — the Soroptimists’ Holiday Affair that is now in its 39th season. For many it isn’t the holiday season without attending the social event that takes place in the lobby of the Bank of Stockton, The 350-ticket event is a perennial sellout.
The club’s next event is a “Paint Night” style gathering on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 1:30 p.m. at the Manteca Senior Center. Mimi Harper is leading the painting for the event costing $45 that includes wine and light refreshments. More information and tickets can be found at paintnite.com.
There’s more to being a Soroptimist than just work. Leslie Trueb points to the fellowship and being able to meet new friends.
The club meets three times a month on Tuesdays at noon at The Rendezvous Room at Ernie’s at noon and at 6 p.m. in the third Thursday at Mt. Mike’s Pizza.
That is so those who may have difficulty making a day meeting can attend an evening gathering. Attendance at every meeting is not mandatory.
Membership is open to even retirees.
Trueb serves as secretary while Laurienne Stroud is the treasurer, and Nunes past president.
The two-hour gathering this Saturday besides wine includes non-alcoholic beverages, hors d’ ouevres, and three door prizes. They invite anyone interested in finding out more about Soroptimists and membership to drop by. You can also call Brocchini at 679-1382 for more information.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com