Reading for the Record

Peninsula Women’s Club kicks off with children’s event

The recently founded Peninsula Women’s Club will take part in the Read for the Record program, in partnership with Pearson Foundation, as a kick-off event for a pretty hefty schedule of planned civic events for the upcoming months.
Called “Pajama Story Time,” the event will be held at the Bayonne Public Library and Media Center on Oct. 6 starting at 6:30 p.m. This is free for children ages 8 or younger.

“Our motto is, ‘Striving for a better community.’” – Mary Kay Tokar
Officially called GFWC Peninsula Women’s Club Inc., the new group hopes to hold a series of civic events over the next few months.

Will be associated with state federation

The Peninsula Women’s Club emerged during the summer, splintering off from the Bayonne Women’s Club over a difference in philosophy.
Mary Kay Tokar, who is a founding member of both groups, said she left the Bayonne Women’s Club partly because she wanted to use the resources of a state federation, when some of the others in the group did not.
Another issue she had with the original group is that its membership grew too fast, and she felt the club needed to be on more solid ground before it started to recruit.
Even by word of mouth, the Peninsula Women’s Club is drawing new members, she said.
Its meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the Trinity Parish Hall at Fifth Street and Broadway.
It is open to any woman between 18 to 80 who agrees to abide by the club’s mission.
Tokar said the club is a non-political, non-sectarian, non-discriminatory organization designed to bring women together for the promotion of civic and philanthropic activities to better the community and to create an interest in education, fine arts, and topics of public interest through cooperative relationships.
“We are incorporated in New Jersey as a non-profit organization,” she said. “Our motto is, ‘Striving for a better community.’ We are a new group, continuing the long history of Federated Women’s Clubs in Bayonne and Hudson County. We are a Bayonne based group with membership open to all of Hudson County, and even beyond.”
Tokar said the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs has a very long and illustrious history in New Jersey, which is one of the reasons she wanted to go with them.
“It founded Douglas College for women, and supported leadership training for women,” Tokar said.
She added, “Part if it has to do with not reinventing the wheel, which means that the federation provides a lot of information and models for programs that can be adapted for local uses.”
By association with the federation, local women can focus on projects rather than starting from scratch. Things like by laws and other organizational elements of the club became easier because of the tools the federation provided.
Although part of the Bayonne Women’s Club that formed earlier this year, Tokar decided she wanted more structure, and wanted to be able to draw on the resources of the state. She didn’t think she would start a new organization at first, but said that other women came up to her who expressed similar interests.
She hopes that the Oct. 6 event will jump start the organization and make people aware of the new organization and see it as a viable part of the community.

Helping others

One of the concerns of the group is the food pantry at Windmill, which needs more food donations.
The Peninsula Women’s Club will march in the Columbus Day Parade, and will be involved in a service day in October, a benefit for the veterans’ hospital. The women will collect items to distribute to veterans at the hospital.
The group is planning to do a program around the holidays and hopes to link up with the schools to find out which families are in need.
Membership if $50 annually, with half of this going to the state chapter.
“Women can attend one meeting free to see if they like it,” Tokar said.
She said women in Bayonne are an untapped potential asset, which she hopes Peninsula can motivate to become a positive force. There are two categories of members— people from the Hudson County area can become full members, people outside Hudson County would become associate members. The club already has one associate member from Philadelphia.
She said the time has come again for a revitalization of groups in Bayonne dedicated to women. She said the old Women’s Club suffered because women aged and the membership dwindled, but she has heard from a number of women who want to get involved in the community.

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