PEPPERELL -- Although she's only been involved for 13 years, Elfie Parker's time in the Women's Club has been just that -- involved.
This May, Parker was elected to a two- year term as second vice president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs of Massachusetts, an officer position granted to only those who are as involved as she. As dean of the GFWC chairman, president of the Pepperell Women's Club, president of the Boston Parliamentary Law Club, which runs courses on how to conduct meetings, and former district director and council recording secretary, Parker is aiming to one day serve as GFWC president.
"I love what I do," she says. "I am not only serving my community, but I love what the general federation does."
Every two years, new officer elections are held at an annual meeting in Taunton and the president is able to pick the project for the next term. Parker was not allowed to solicit votes, but, as she says, let her actions speak for her.
One of the most recent of those was when Parker presented $1,045 to a USO Reading Program in Roanoke, Va.
"Through the program, ten dollars buys a book and video tape to allow soldiers aborad to read for their kids," she said.
Last October, Parker presented a tote of donated socks and pajamas to a domestic violence shelters on behalf of the club.
"They were all sizes, from infants to women," Parker said. "I simply said 'when they come in, give them the PJs, so they have something of
"It didn't take me long to realize there is a lot of good to be done in the world, the Women's Club says 'lets go take part in it,' and it is so wonderful to hear people's experiences and contribute a little bit to help out."
Their community talent show raised $1,700. They also sold blue-and-silver pinwheels for the Massachusetts Citizens for Children's anti-domestic violence fundraiser -- sold out of them.
"I had to order 120 more, we are well-known in town, when people see the Pepperell Women's Club, the wallets coming out," Parker said, adding that local organizations like the Lions' Club and VFW are always willing to help. "People are willing to give because they know us and what we do."
Upon submitting their annual report, which boasted 6,000 volunteer hours and $11,000 raised, Pepperell's club was awarded the Silver Bowl recognizing the highest level of volunteerism for the size of their club.
"Not bad with most club members aged around 70," she said.
Parker added that it is "ridiculous we can do so much, especially when you put us all together." With more than 74 million members internationally, many a-non-profit and community has benefited, and now, as second vice president, Parker is getting involved with those efforts to a new level.
"Clubs are able to choose what they want to do, but having an overall mission allows us to address important issues to our communities, state, nation and world," said Parker.
Each new term, she says, the clubs choose a mission and apply it two core public issues like the arts, conservation, education, home life or international outreach. Until 2014 the clubs' mission is children, the local clubs will contribute to that one cause.
"Having a say as an officer means going above and beyond what local clubs can do," she said.
Alongside fundraising efforts, Parker hopes to make the club more attractive for new members. At 36 strong, Pepperell's club is able to make a difference, she said, but they are always looking for new members.
"It's rough statewide, most women's clubs meeting during the day and there are too many other organizations, moms are working and kids are involved in their own activities," she said. "But we'll keep doing what we do, we still have a lot to give, even at our age."
The Pepperell Women's Club is sponsoring a Pepperell Business Association Band Concert on July 10.