In the Community


CFUW St. John’s Community Outreach Projects

Scholarships for women attending our local university and colleges have been the main focus of CFUW St. John’s Club donations, over the years. This has been hugely valued by our members and the deserving recipients. We’ve also supported other projects in the community, such as “New Beginnings Baskets” for women leaving a shelter, community meals to feed the needy, food bank support for our university students, to name a few. Over time, some of these outreach community projects became a special part of what our club was pleased to support. CFUW St. John’s is proud of the continuous work of our Outreach Committee over the years.

Club funds come from a once a year fundraiser, we refer to as the Great Big Book Sale! It is an amazing effort by a large portion of our club members. It takes about a month from start to finish, collecting and sorting into categories, then displaying for public viewing. We have a large following in the community, both those donating good quality books and returning to purchase books. Our club is known in the community as the Book Sale Women!!! Over time, our proceeds have been growing annually. This has led to CFUW St. John’s Club finding more dollars for Community Outreach projects.

The Outreach Committee was established in 2016, although some outreach support in the community had already been happening, without a formalized committee. In that period of time from 2016 to now 2024, we have supported dozens of groups in need. Our focus is usually on women and girls, though often it expands beyond that to children and families. The organizations we support are not for profit groups who are trying to meet unique needs in the community. These organizations are usually run by a small number of paid professionals and a larger number of dedicated volunteers.

The needs of the community are forever changing and expanding. Our members seek to connect with organizations annually to discern what current needs and goals they seek to meet. We’re often welcomed into their premises and given an inside look at their accomplishments, current needs and goals. Sometimes these leaders in the community are also invited to present to our monthly club meeting, to increase awareness of their work among our members.

In the 2016 Annual Report for CFUW St. John’s, the newly formed Outreach Committee had financially supported 25 community groups, both that year and in the few years leading up to then. The funding could be as small as $100 towards the start of a project, up to $1500 towards a broader approach to starting or continuing a project. Some examples of these groups would include the Memorial University Food Bank, Kiwanis Music Festival, New beginnings Baskets for a women’s shelter, Thrive (a youth 14 – 29 at risk initiative), Teachers on Wheels, Home Again Furniture Bank, NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, Association for New Canadians, and others.

This year, 2023-2024, members voted to increase our outreach budget, due to both strong results in our annual book sale and continuous growing needs in our community. Our five member committee is challenged to meet as many diverse needs as possible. We’re reviewing needs of past community groups and weighing the current needs of groups new to us. Often our donations are just the impetus these groups need to prove them resourceful and capable of meeting community needs to get funding on a larger scale.

Our longest standing project and one we’re extremely proud of, is the New Beginnings Baskets for Iris Kirby House. Iris Kirby House is a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence and their children. When residents leave the shelter to live in their new homes, they are given New Beginnings Baskets prepared by CFUW St.John`s.

We deliver two laundry size baskets a month and occasionally are asked to provide the same for some seniors at other locations. It includes kitchen, bathroom and personal care items needed to get through the early days in a new place. Included items are mugs, teabags, sugar, milk, tea towels, dishcloths, bathroom towels, soap, toilet paper, shampoo, cleaners, laundry detergent, broom and dustpan, paring knife, spatula, vegetable peeler, can opener and many more items. In today’s economy we estimate the value to be close to $200, much higher than when the project began more than ten years ago!! Many of our members donate some of these new items or give an annual cash donation to the project. One of our members houses the products and keeps an inventory of needs. A group of us help with the savvy shopping, then gather to prepare six baskets at a time. Many hands make light work!!

The feedback we’ve received tells us the baskets are truly appreciated by the women who receive them. It gives them a good start-up package of household goods, both consumable and non-consumable. This project was started by the local chapter of IODE more than a decade ago. At first we worked with the IODE, but with their membership dwindling, we agreed to take over the project. Since then we’ve prepared and delivered more than 320 baskets!!! That’s a lot of households helped with their own “New Beginning”.

Community Centers in our area have provided much needed support to families. The Kettle Is On program at MacMarron Community Centre is offered twice a month at lunch time. They serve a home cooked meal and promote healthy eating and wellness. They offer a Friendship Club twice a month. Adults get together to play cards, socialize, enjoy some snacks and chat in a supportive environment. Many of the people who avail of these services are at home moms and seniors. The Virginia Park Community Centre started a Food Pantry last year. This is a new project based on food insecurity in the community. We’ve supported these programs in recent years.

Thrive provides support and services to both resilient youth and young adults who live in poverty and have limited access to mainstream programs and services and youth service providers within the St. John’s Metro region. They work with ages 14 to 29.

CFUW St. John`s Supports Thrive’s innovative programs were developed in collaboration with the community to address key gaps in services and include: Youth at Promise Program, which is a foundation literacy and numeracy program for youth 16 – 29 who have dropped out of school; and the Springboard GED preparation program. Thrive coordinates Street Reach, a street-based outreach service. Thrive is the sponsoring agency for CASEY, a coalition working together to address issues related to the sexual exploitation of youth. The Blue Door is a St. John’s based program that is designed to support individuals, primarily between the ages of 14-29, who have experiences in the sex trade, including sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, and are looking for support.

Stella’s Circle provides services to adults who face many barriers to fully participating in their community. These barriers include mental health challenges, addictions, trauma, poverty, homelessness, criminal justice involvement, low literacy, and long periods of unemployment.

Naomi Center is an 8-bed shelter that supports women between the ages of 16-29. They provide temporary emergency housing and also support women who transition out of the shelter into the community. Instead of baskets of goods, for those leaving the shelter we are providing several gift cards for groceries and household items. Cards are for $25 and are for local retail stores.

Connections for Seniors is an organization that is working to put stronger supports in place for seniors, 55+ who are struggling with supportive housing, medical and financial issues. They provide advocacy, case management, homecare, finding a doctor, financial planning and problem solving. We provided a donation towards transportation for their social workers for gas and insurance as they were using their own vehicles to transport seniors to medical and housing appointments. Recently, the director was guest speaker at our monthly meeting. In the five years since this organization began operating, they’ve accomplished so much in support of seniors in their own homes. It’s both ambitious and impressive to see this organization advocating for better living conditions for our aging and deserving seniors.

Home Again Furniture Bank provides used furniture and new mattresses to individuals and families in need. This includes people who have experienced loss, seniors, new Canadians, those coming out of the foster or shelter system, previously incarcerated individuals, and even families with young children. It’s another example of an organization meeting the needs of many in our community, with the work of a few hard working paid personnel and many hard working volunteers to improve people’s lives. Recently, our donation to this group enabled them to purchase six child size new mattresses.

Alzheimer’s Society has been a recipient of our donations in recent years. They offer valuable resources supporting families dealing with this illness. They offer online and in person advice about the stages of Alzheimer’s, helping caregivers and their loved ones cope with the many changes. They are a valued asset to many seniors and their loved ones, in helping them navigate the many stages of this journey.

Scientists in Schools is a national organization devoted to promoting science based learning to children from Kindergarten to grade eight, through interactive online workshops, both in schools and community settlings. These workshops are usually offered to support vulnerable children. Scientists in Schools was started in 1989 as an outreach program of CFUW Ajax-Pickering . They became a registered charity in 1999 and quickly expanded across southern Ontario, and now remarkably they have grown to include every province in Canada. The founder, Cindy Adams, was honoured with an Order of Canada in 2023 for her efforts in promoting science to these young children. This year, 2023-24, we were delighted to assist with this worthy educational effort by funding STEM workshops in our own province of Newfoundland and Labrador, for the first time.

Special Olympics is a well known national event that we supported in February 2020, by funding a local athlete, Jessica Summers, to attend the national competition. Jessica`s sport is snowshoeing. She attended, along with a large group of other special needs athletes, competing in a variety of winter sports, at the national level. We were delighted to attend the kick off celebration for this group.

Memorial University Foodbank.   Due to the growing financial needs of post-secondary students, we have funded the MUN Foodbank for many years in a row. We feel that helping nourish students enables them to better meet their academic requirements.

CFUW St. John’s Outreach committee set goals when deciding to support a project,
with a preferred focus on educational goals. However, we all realize that meeting basic needs first is a pre-requisite to educational needs being met. Hence, many of the organizations we currently support fit into the “basic needs” category. All of the above organizations have benefitted and truly appreciated any donation we could make to their valuable work. We are all on our own unique journey. Helping each other along the way helps us all grow.



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National Scholarships
Ecole Polytechnique Scholarship
Alice B Wilson Scholarshi

Our Issues and Resolutions committee supports and acts upon resolutions adopted at our National AGM by writing letters to politicians on issues of concern and seeking public support.

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IWF International Women’s Day Project

Education of Girls in Northern Nigeria
In partnership with the We Care Foundation of NL CFUW St. John’s provides financial support which enables 10 girls from Nigeria whose schooling was interrupted by the Boko Haram militants to attend school. The money provided covers the cost of textbooks, uniforms, a daily meal and tuition.



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