Crafting for a cause

Club adorns hats for sick children

Not everyone in the Woman’s Club of Weehawken may know how to wield a glue gun, but they all have the spirit to try. The group gathered together for their monthly meeting last week with a special purpose in mind: creating “Heavenly Hats” for children dealing with hair loss due to cancer treatment or other medical conditions.
Glitter, stickers, lace and beads were on hand to help bedazzle knit caps with a sassy or sophisticated flair. Elizabeth Mulcahy set her mind towards “tasteful” as she made her first hat. “We’re going for goofy,” said Sandy Weigel from across the table.
A camp-like atmosphere prevailed as the women laughed and joked while asking each other for critiques on their work.
“Martha Stewart would be proud of us,” said Janet Tava.


“If young people knew how political and forward-thinking the organization is, I think a lot more would join.” – Janet Teva

The Woman’s Club has been in existence since 1919 and is a member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs, the largest and oldest non-denominational, non-partisan, volunteer service organization in the state.
While this is the first time the group has volunteered for the Heavenly Hats program, it is not their initial venture into philanthropy. Every year the group bakes and packs Christmas cookies for the local senior center and stuffs stockings for the troops with essentials like socks and Slim Jims. One of the members also donated $50 phone cards to be included this year.
“We’re lucky,” said Mulcahy, who has participated in those activities. “Most people have been very generous.”
The “Heavenly Hats” project has been circulating on the federal level of women’s clubs. The Weehawken group chose to take on the project with the hope of improving self image for children while allowing members a chance to enjoy themselves as well.
“It’s fun, it’s creative, everyone can do it,” said Co-President Charlene Burke. “There’s no right way or wrong way; that’s what makes this so appealing.”
Barbara Tulko said these sorts of fun activities are lost when one grows older. “Actually, I like doing stuff like this,” she said, recalling the craft classes she used to share with her children. “Then I got to the real world and had to go to work.”
The seven dozen hats collected by the women will be sent to the Heavenly Hats organization in Wisconsin once the all of the frills have been added. The hats were collected through various bulk purchases from discount sales and the group happily accepts additional hat donations, as long as they are new.
Though it was only scheduled to be a one-time project, based on feedback from the participants, Burke said it could continue throughout the year.
“It’s a wonderful way of drawing in women,” she said. “A fundamental component of the club is to make women feel good about what they’re doing and put their talents to good use.”

Continuing the tradition

For nearly a century, The Woman’s Club of Weehawken has provided a voice for women. Those in attendance last Monday credited previous members with making advancements in government policies and preserving communities.
However, as one generation passes to the next, the women say that keeping up with tradition has become more challenging.
“If young people knew how political and forward-thinking the organization is, I think a lot more would join,” said Janet Teva. “It’s so hard to get people to volunteer, but if you don’t continue, the tradition it will die.”
For current members, it is a sense of loyalty to tradition that keeps them coming back. “[The older women] have worked so hard for this all of their lives,” said Sandy Weigel. And for some, like Barbara Tulko, that tradition runs in the family. Her mother was involved in many groups including her local women’s club. “I like to help out and the ladies are all so nice,” she said.
Despite the challenges, the mission of The Woman’s Club still calls to a new generation. Several newcomers showed up to create hats last week after learning about the event in the Reporter.
“We’re always looking for new members to join,” said Co-President Burke.
The Woman’s Club of Weehawken will hold their annual spring fundraiser on May 1. The theme this year is Pub Quiz Trivia Night and is open to everyone. For more information about the Woman’s Club of Weehawken contact (201) 951-1114.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at

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