The Women's Civic Club helps provide funds to keep organizations stocked with food for those in need. (Photo courtesy of Branches in Rio Grande)


The Sea Isle City Women’s Civic Club gives back to the community year-round. Among the many causes they donate to is one that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is more valuable than ever.

They give to organizations that provide for those in need of food.

On Sept. 14, the club will host its annual Card Party/Game Day Luncheon Fundraiser at noon in the Community Lodge, 300 JFK Boulevard. Admission is $25 per person, and it includes lunch and playing popular table-top games, such as bridge, mahjong and pinochle. There will also be a 50-50 drawing.

Proceeds benefit The Branches Episcopal Outreach Center, Holy Redeemer Food Pantry, Saint Maximillian Kolbe Food Pantry, and Sea Isle City United Methodist Food Cupboard.

Sea Isle Public Information Officer Katherine Custer summed up the importance of the Civic Club on Monday

“Year after year, Civic Club members continue to prove that they understand the value of giving back to the community, as is evident by their annual Card Party fundraiser. The Women’s Civic Club sets a good example for us all,” Custer said.

Club member Michele Ciuro, of Sea Isle, noted that the card games are fun, but the best part of belonging to the organization is that you get to do something good for the community.

“The reason why most people join is to meet other people,” she noted. “That was my first reason to join, but then you get to help others.”

There are about 100 members of the club. So far, there are more than 40 people signed up for the September event, and more than 60 people are expected, Ciuro said.

“What’s great is all of the money goes to the charities,” she said.

United Methodist Church of Sea Isle City Pastor Melissa Doyle-Waid stands in the food cupboard in 2020.

United Methodist Church in Sea Isle City Pastor Melissa Doyle-Waid called the generosity of the club “amazing.”

“The gift that they give us helps us to be able to sustain our ministry,” she pointed out. “As fall comes, the need will be greater and the money will be so needed. We are so thankful for their incredible efforts on our behalf.”

Doyle-Waid explained that for about nine years, the church has supplied food to those in need in the county through a food cupboard housed within the church.

“We rely on donations. We do not have any subsidies,” she said.

And the number of families in need of food since the pandemic began last year has grown, Doyle-Waid added.

“We literally have families that are two people to 10 people and regardless of the family size, we provide them with food for a week,” she said. “We give them toiletries, meats and non- perishables.”

She explained that “food insecurity is such a big issue in this county and it takes all of the agencies working together and being supportive of us, so that people don’t have to go to sleep hungry and people will be able to feed their babies.”

For The Branches, an outreach facility in Rio Grande, funds from the civic club help with the organization’s focus of providing services and programs to the poor and underprivileged residents in the county, Branches Director Sandra Lockhart said in an interview Monday.

“We exist on donations and we really appreciate any organization that supports our mission,” she said. “We are community-oriented and those in need are our priority.”

Members of the Sea Isle City Women’s Civic Club join with representatives of three charities during a donation drive in January 2020, prior to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo courtesy of Sea Isle City)

Like Doyle-Waid, Lockhart noted that now, during the pandemic, additional donations are essential to enable them to help the needy.

“Donations are always appreciated and needed, but they are especially appreciated at this time,” Lockhart pointed out. “We are going into the winter and with an uptick in COVID-19 cases, there is a greater need. We know it will be a hard winter that is why help from organizations such as the Women’s Civic Club is so important.”

The Women’s Civic Club has quite a history of serving the community “with a commendable history,” Custer said.

She continued, “They are the longest-standing civic group in Sea Isle City, and over a century ago they laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol by personally administering first aid and other assistance to beachgoers prior to the SICBP being founded – and that alone makes them noteworthy.”

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Sept. 14 Card Party luncheon and fundraiser, call 609-778-7095.

Donations help replenish the Holy Redeemer Food Pantry in Swainton. (Photo courtesy of Carol Hopely Russo)