Copperfield women's group has supported community for more than 25 years
For Terri Pope-Mobley and her group of volunteers in Cy-Fair Community Emergency Response Team, Christmas has come early. And their Santa is the Copperfield Women's Club.
"We're still a little bit numb from this," she said of the club's $5,000 donation to CERT, allowing it to outfit a mobile unit to be used in emergencies such as hurricanes. "We would have been nickel-and-diming this for at least a couple years."
Janet Barber, the club's president, said CERT was just one of several charities to which the group donated this year, providing a total of $45,000 in contributions.
The group has been giving to the community since it began in 1983, Barber said. The women's major annual fundraiser is "Shop Til You Drop," an arts-and-crafts show that last year had 290 vendors from across the state, said Susan Bartos, event co-chairwoman and past club president.
"We don't keep a cent of the money," Bartos said. "We give 100 percent of it to the community."
The group's membership is cyclical. Since Barber joined in 1992, its numbers have ranged from 200 women to the current roster of 45. She said the club wants another growth spurt. It is open to any women living in Copperfield and surrounding areas. Members range in age from 20 to 60 and some come from developments beyond U.S. 290, Barber said.
"It's such a variety of women. That's kind of a neat thing," she said. "We have single women, working moms and grandmothers."
Barber joined the club on a dare from a friend as they were preparing for an exam to be certified public accountants.
"We said, 'We're gonna pass this test, join the club and do some socializing with other women,' " she said.
Now a senior financial analyst at Chevron, Barber has been a loyal member of the club ever since. She and Bartos, who has been a member for 12 years, say the club has given them long-lasting friendships.
"It's such a great opportunity to make friends and help others at the same time," Barber said. "Women can be a determined group of people when we want to achieve something."
Bartos added, "I've met some of my best friends in this club. And we get to do some really wonderful things."
The money raised at Shop Til You Drop allows them to give to numerous charities in the Houston area throughout the year. With the $45,000 they raised at the event last year, they gave $10,000 in college scholarships to 10 graduating Cy-Fair seniors and donated to groups such as Cy-Fair CERT, which has about 300 trained volunteers; The Mission of Yahweh, a shelter for women and children; Cypress Cares, which sends packages to deployed troops; and Keep Kids Connected, which provides computers to hospitalized children with life-threatening illnesses so they can stay connected to friends and family.
"We give to anyone in the area that we see needs help," Barber said.
They also gave to Boys and Girls Country, a home for 88 youths from families in crisis, and George O'Neal, spokesman for the group, said the club's support is invaluable.
"This support is essential for us to provide a home to children," he said. "We do not rely on government money or United Way. We rely on supporters like this."
He said the Copperfield club has supported Boys and Girls Country for several years through financial donations and in-kind gifts. Last year, the club had an obstacle course booth at the Boys and Girls Spring Festival, a fundraiser that brought in $600,000 for the home, O'Neal said.
Bartos said she hopes to increase the Copperfield club's membership so the Shop Til You Drop fundraiser can get even bigger.
"Right now, we offer it one day in September, but we'd like to make it a weekend event," she said. "But we don't want to do that until we have more members to help."
Bartos said the event has grown tremendously from when it began 15 years ago in the parking lot of Labay Middle School. It's now held at The Berry Center and about 6,000 attended last year, she said.
Bartos said being able to give back to her community gives her a sense of pride.
"I've lived (in Copperfield) since 1990. We raised our three kids here," she said. "So, I like that our efforts stay right here at home with us. We can help out our neighbors."
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