GC Girls Club gets chili

It is a relatively unknown organization that aims to help where it can.

"What we do is very unusual," said Marie McKeon. "We do what no other organization does."

McKeon is one of the original members of the Grove City Girls Club, which was founded in 2001 by a "bunch of ladies talking on their porch."

"The purpose of the club is to help families with children in the South-Western City School District who are having financial emergencies," she said.

Every second Thursday, the organization of 30 members get together to discuss things they overheard, either at school, church or otherwise where a family could use financial assistance.

"A few things we’ve done are helping to pay funeral expenses; bought items for a family taking care of an infant whose mother was going to Iraq and helped a single mother with an infant who was trying to complete high school," McKeon said.

The Grove City Girls Club also bought a prom dress for a senior whose father was laid off from work, and a tool set for another family to replace the lost ones so the father could get back to work.

"Basically this club is for the average working person," said she. "If we can give $500 or even $1,000 to a family who needs it, we’re happy to do it."

She added that there are no forms to fill out and no interview process to go through for these families, but they mostly hear their stories of financial hardships through "word of mouth" from the members.

In order to help with family emergencies, the Grove City Girls Club holds four fund raisers per year. There is the summer golf outing which raises thousands of dollars, the September parade to coincide with Arts in the Alley, Breakfast with Santa and the upcoming chili supper.

"It will be $6 per person and we’ll have live entertainment as well as raffles."

McKeon said 98 percent of the money raised at these events goes to help families when an emergency arrives.

"We want to raise enough money to help anyone we hear about," she said. "In my time here, I don’t remember ever denying a family. As long as we have money, we have never said no."

She likens the club to a "group of good hearted old ladies" who help donate (and make) food for these events, and even give money out of their own pocket when a financial situation is brought up and voted upon.

"I have been very fortunate in life," McKeon said. "I’ve been able to meet my needs and the needs of my family, but I’m not worth a fortune. I make a decent amount of money and I get a great deal of satisfaction when we’re able to help people with financial problems."

The chili supper fund raiser will be held on March 7 at the Elks Lodge, located at 2140 Sonora Dr. in Grove City. Dinner starts at 6 p.m.

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