JJWL’s past projects are varied and numerous.
The first JJWL project following our inception in 1930 was the Basement Project for the Day Nursery. That same year, JJWL established a Milk Fund used to distribute milk to preschool children through the Children’s Clinic at Foote Hospital. JJWL established the Children’s Nutritional Project and Salvage Shop and contributed workers to various clinics at Foote Hospital in the 1930s.
Throughout the 1940s, JJWL organized Bundles for Britain, a war relief effort, sewed surgical dressings, held war bond drives, and sewed and packed kit bags for the Red Cross. Local efforts included the donation of equipment to Foote Hospital, the Florence Crittenden Home, and the Day Nursery.
During the 1949-1950 membership year, JJWL produced its first Follies, a variety show using local talent professionally directed. The Follies would continue annually for six years and was a welcome substitute for the varied and diverse fund raising activities of years past.
In the 1950s, projects included the Children’s Theatre and the Nearly New Shop. The 1960s saw JJWL help to establish the Senior Citizens Center, and establish the Ella Sharp Museum with a gift of $4,000.00 and election of a Board of Trustees. In 1968, JJWL held its first annual Super Sale fundraiser, which would continue until 1992.
JJWL founded the Jackson Youth Symphony and undertook projects with the Retired Senior Citizens Volunteers, Interfaith Shelter, Jackson Learning & Resource Center, AWARE, Child Abuse & Neglect Council, and the Dahlem Nature Center in the 1970s.
Volunteerism was the focus in the 1980s, with hours of service being provided to a host of area projects and organizations. In 1988, JJWL began “The Shape of Things to Come,” an organization revitalization process that shifted the focus of JJWL efforts to one major project at a time, starting with the first major project, Project Earth Teach, in 1989. Project Earth Teach kicked off with the planting of a tree in Cascades Park on Earth Day 1990.
JJWL developed a comprehensive recycling program with the Dahlem Center for Jackson County classrooms that spanned from 1990 to 1992. In 1992, JJWL held its first Gala event, which would replace the Super Sale as our major annual fundraiser. Major projects in the 1990s included Project Success and the Michigan Space and Science Center. In the late 1990s, JJWL introduced an alternative to major projects by implementing mini-grants. JJWL has since alternated between major projects and mini-grants for the distribution of funds raised.
In 1999, JJWL partnered with the Jackson Citizen Patriot and the Community Action Agency for Warm the Children. JJWL continues its dedication to Warm the Children, which provides warm winter clothing to local children in need.
In the 2000s, JJWL undertook major projects with the Community Respite Center and Born Free. Thousands of dollars have been distributed in the last decade through mini-grants to various Jackson area organizations and projects.
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