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Happy 100th, 21 Club!

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

In 1921, three like minded young women gathered to meet socially. Ruth Leavitt Sanborn, Thelma Weeks Melloon, and Theresa Ridlon Fox were new brides, new teachers, cousins drawn together in good company. At one of their afternoon meetings in 1921, on Thelma’s porch in Kezar Falls, Maine, the story goes, they decided to form a club. 21 Club functioned as a social club doing sunshine work in the community. They gathered for dinner at one another’s houses, and supported each other as young mothers. It wasn’t long before they cast an eye on their community and began to think about what they could give back.

This year, 21 Club is celebrating 100 years. Club continues to support the community, seek opportunities to make a difference and embrace the Club motto “Our True Worth Is the Good We Do In the World”.

In 1928, 21 Club joined the Maine Federation of Women’s Clubs (MFWC), further strengthening their mission to be of service to their town. For 100 years, 21 Club has worked hard to make a difference.

21 Club supported the establishment of a school hot lunch program, sponsored Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets, and Christmas toy drives. Spectacle Pond Swim Program in Porter was started by 21 Club in the 1950’s. Club women worked tirelessly to make a beach, clean the water, hire an instructor, and register children. A club woman was always on the beach during lessons, even though that meant hauling their own youngsters to the pond with them.

The 21 Club has sponsored an academic excellence award at Sacopee Valley High School and sponsored a delegate to Girl’s State. A community service scholarship is sponsored by Club every year at SVHS.

21 Club Porter, Maine, Colleen Coates and others
21 Club discussing a Health Center as their community improvement project. Left to right: 21 Club members Colleen Coates (current SVHC Director Emeritus), Dorothy Churchill, May Stanley, Edith Cartland, last two unidentified.

In 1975, ’21 Club recognized the need for expanded medical care in the community and spearheaded the creation of the Sacopee Valley Health Center. They garnered support from other organizations, enlisted the help of community members who had the necessary knowledge, and raised money to support the effort. 21 Club won the MFWC top prize that year, AND placed fourth in the nation for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs! Nearly 50 years later, the SVHC continues to be a critical part of the community.

21 Club has long supported of the Ronald McDonald House and Meals on Wheels. There is a brick with the Club’s name on it at Ronald McDonald House! The Lilac Festival was created by 21 Club in 1998. Money raised helped purchase three welcome signs coming into town. Flags were placed on poles on the main streets. 21 Club started "21 Club Salutes”, giving much deserved recognition to community members who give tirelessly and often unnoticed to their community.

21 Club sponsors Books for Babies. Each baby born in Parsonsfield and Porter is given a bag of books and information on resources for the family from 21 Club.

21 Club has been an unceasing supporter of the Kezar Falls Library, local schools, and any other worthy cause that comes its way.

For more information about 21 Club, contact J. Stanley at (207) 625-3945.


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