SOROPTIMIST CELEBRATES 70
Soroptimist International of Sedro-Woolley will celebrate 70 years at an anniversary event on Saturday, June 29th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at The Walnut Tree thrift shop, 713 Puget, in Sedro-Woolley. Chartered on June 17, 1949, local Soroptimists have enjoyed service to the community and friendship through seven decades of changing American life. The celebration will include refreshments, entertainment, and open hours for The Walnut Tree. The public is invited.
Currently with 64 members, S-W Soroptimists provide the volunteer work required to sort, price, and sell the donations to The Walnut Tree, which come from the generous community. The club’s current president is Elinor Nakis of Sedro-Woolley, and Andrea Brown of Sedro-Woolley has been elected for the next presidential term beginning July 1.
Fund raising for local projects has always been at the forefront for Sedro-Woolley Soroptimists. From fruitcake, rummage, and bake sales to “teas” and member donations, earning money is an important activity in any service club.
In 1951 Soroptimists bought “Nightingale Units” for
patient use, as well as raised $1000 in a community effort to add a new
hospital wing. Part of their fundraising effort was to place “milk
bottles” in businesses in Sedro-Woolley and upriver to give each resident an
opportunity to contribute to the hospital cause. The Milk Bottle project
netted $160, in a time when the new hospital addition was budgeted at $150,000.
A variety of fundraising efforts continued until October 1975, when then-president Bee Johnson initiated the project to start a permanent thrift shop as a Soroptimist business in Sedro-Woolley, and The Walnut Tree was born. After 44 years in business, the thriving shop continues to provide bargain shopping for books, clothes, household goods, and other interesting treasures with all profits enabling the Club to support selected worthy causes.
“We operate a business together, “emphasizes former President Judy Johnson (daughter of Bee Johnson). “With all the dynamics of business and club activities, Soroptimist membership is a big personal commitment.”
Through the 70 years, Soroptimists have often sponsored community projects such as Girls State, dinners for Sedro-Woolley School District Faculty Women (Rotary fed the male faculty), a nurse’s career club at SWHS, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire, brochures for the Chamber of Commerce, and scholarships for SWHS graduates.
Projects supported in recent times include scholarships for graduating high school seniors, continuing education scholarships, United General Hospital Oncology Unit, Helping Hands Food Bank, Sedro-Woolley Boys and Girls Club, Cascade Middle School AVID program, Sedro-Woolley Public Library, Meals on Wheels, Skagit Hospice, Skagit Habitat for Humanity, Skagit County Search and Rescue, Sedro-Woolley Community Thanksgiving, Sedro-Woolley Community Troop Support, Hammer Heritage Square, The Landing, and many more. Sedro-Woolley Soroptimists played an integral role in the building of our Community Center in 1976.
The Saturday during March that falls closest to International Women’s Day on March 8th is annually “Soroptimist Saturday of Service” where clubs all over the world execute service projects in their communities and of their own choosing. SI S-W has developed a tradition of opening The Walnut Tree on that day and donating the day’s proceeds to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program hosted by
Sedro-Woolley. Themed as a “Community
Baby Shower”, the shop also collects donations on that day, from members and
the community, of baby products needed by WIC mothers. United General
OrganizationSI Sedro-Woolley was originally sponsored by SI Seattle Metropolitan in 1949. Subsequently, SI S-W sponsored the chartering of SI Burlington.
There are 11 Soroptimist clubs in this four-county area and three of the Skagit County clubs operate thrift shops (S-W, La Conner, and Anacortes).
Sedro-Woolley has a “friendship link” relationship with SI of the Langleys, BC, Canada.
The Walnut Tree’s regular hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 12 noon to 5 p.m. The shop’s Facebook page alerts shoppers to special promotions and sales.