Monroe Women’s Club fundraiser will be at Jones Winery

Monroe Women’s Club Co-President Cindy Nikbin ‘PINKS’ Leslie Fox’s home on Wheeler Road with a flock of flamingos. The ‘PINKS’ effort is just one of the nonprofit club’s community fundraisers, with proceeds benefiting breast cancer research. The cost to PINK a home is $15. Flamingos are placed at a home for two days, and then move along to another unsuspecting location chosen by the purchaser. The club’s next fundraiser is a wine tasting on Sept. 18.

Monroe Women’s Club Co-President Cindy Nikbin ‘PINKS’ Leslie Fox’s home on Wheeler Road with a flock of flamingos. The ‘PINKS’ effort is just one of the nonprofit club’s community fundraisers, with proceeds benefiting breast cancer research. The cost to PINK a home is $15. Flamingos are placed at a home for two days, and then move along to another unsuspecting location chosen by the purchaser. The club’s next fundraiser is a wine tasting on Sept. 18.

Wine a bit, you’ll feel better — or so the Monroe Women’s Club hopes. The club is preparing for its first wine tasting fund-raiser, to be held at Jones Winery in Shelton on Sept. 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

According to Cindy Nikbin, co-president of the Monroe Women’s Club, the wine tasting event, spearheaded by co-president Adele Buck, is one of a handful of fund-raisers the organization hopes to hold before the end of the year. The club’s fund-raising events are now geared toward smaller groups of people, Nikbin said, because the number of its volunteers has dropped off over the years. With 50 tickets available for the Sept. 18 wine-tasting, the size is just right for the kind of experience the club is trying to provide to attendees, she said. 

The Women’s Club did not always rely on smaller, more intimate fund-raisers to keep itself afloat, however. The group’s popular Country Treasures Craft Show, established in 1985, was formerly the club’s main event — and a large one at that, Nikbin said. The craft show typically raised $15,000 to $20,000 each year — money that was distributed to the town’s fire department, Emergency Medical Services, school libraries, Project Warmth and a number of other nonprofit organizations in town that requested funding. Despite its success, however, the craft show began to dwindle over the last few years as craft-oriented people made fewer items and attended fewer shows, she said.

The show grew smaller each year until the club finally decided to bring it to a close in 2013. After 28 years, the event had begun to yield so little in funds for the town that it was no longer worth holding, Nikbin said. 

Taste the local wines

Jamie Jones stands in front of wine bottles at Jones Winery.

Jamie Jones stands in front of wine bottles at Jones Winery in Shelton.

Now, as the club aims to make the most of its manpower, events are more intimate and members are working hard to establish fun, fresh activities for the community to enjoy, she said, which is where the wine fund-raiser comes in. Attendees will get the opportunity to taste seven different wines created by Jones Winery, including classic reds and whites, along with dessert and atypical fruit blends for a cost of $30 per person. Participants will also be provided with an assortment of appetizers, including goodies from the restaurant’s own pizza oven.

The wine tasting will also offer a silent auction to attendees, and the club is hard at work finding donors to add to the offerings, Nikbin said. The organization recently sent a mailing to approximately 100 local businesses asking for donated auction items. The response so far has been a very positive one, Nikbin said. Thus far, the Long Wharf Theatre, Beardsley Zoo, a number of local restaurants, beauty salons and other businesses have already agreed to donate to the auction, she said. Once all prizes are collected, members of the Women’s Club will bundle items together in order to create approximately 25 different auction packages with high values, Nikbin said. Highlights of the auction include an Essex steam train and river boat ride for a family of four, she added.

During the wine tasting, attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase more wine by the glass or by the bottle, and will be sent home with a commemorative Jones Winery wine glass, Nikbin said. Door prizes may also be incorporated, she said.

Though the Monroe Women’s Club holds smaller events these days, the group’s commitment to serving the community has not changed, according to Nikbin. 

Get ‘PINKED’

The club not only holds events to benefit local organizations, but aids larger community-oriented organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, as well. In fact, she said, the Women’s Club is currently holding a “You’ve Been PINKED” fund-raiser, with proceeds benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Connecticut. Through Sept. 5, flocks of pink plastic flamingos may be sent to Monroe homes for a two-day stay for a $15 tax-deductible donation. Community members may invite them to their own home, or send them to a neighbor or friend to help support the fight against breast cancer. Those interested may make checks payable to Monroe Women’s Club and send to Jo Ann Bruno, 10 Cobblers Hill Court, Monroe. Be sure to include the address to be “PINKED.”

Locally, the Monroe Women’s Club is gearing up for a handful of fund-raising events to take place through the end of the year. The club will once again conduct its annual food drive and costume collection in either the first or second weekend of October, Nikbin said. 

The event provides food and monetary donations to the Monroe Food Pantry, and through the assistance of the Social Services Department, provides community children with free, donated Halloween costumes.

Following the food and costume collection, the club will hold a poinsettia sale and luminarias sale to help residents light up their neighborhoods. 

One of the organization’s most popular fund-raisers will also return during the first weekend in December. The annual holiday tree lighting on the Monroe Green will once again be hosted by the Women’s Club. Masuk music students will play holiday tunes, Santa will visit in a Monroe fire truck, and attendees will join in singing holiday favorites, Nikbin said. 

All in all, Nikbin said, the club tries to offer a little of everything through its fund-raising events. The problem, she added, is that many community members are unaware of the club’s efforts.

“We’re very excited about the things that we do and wish that people in the community could become more aware of the things that we do,” Nikbin said.

Those interested in joining the Monroe Women’s Club or seeing what it’s all about are invited to join at any time or attend any of the club’s meetings, which are generally held on the third Monday of each month, and will soon be posted in local papers including The Courier.

Serving as a member of the Women’s Club is noncommittal and members are never asked to participate in activities they don’t wish to be a part of, Nikbin said. In addition, although the club has dues, the amount is small and is simply in place to cover the organization’s insurance and tax filings. 

All other money goes straight back into the community, Nikbin said. The friendships that develop between members makes joining the club well worth the effort, she added. For more information on the club visit monroewomensclub.org.

Those interested in attending the wine tasting may either purchase tickets at the Monroe Farmers’ Market outside Town Hall on Sept. 5 from 3 to 6 p.m. or by mail. Mail payments to MWC, P.O. Box 73, Monroe, CT 06468 by Sept. 8. Advance ticket purchase is required.

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