Woman’s Club Provides Masks to Seniors | Working to Expand Outreach to Save Lives

The local non-profit continues to tirelessly make masks for those in need in South Pasadena and surrounding areas

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | (L-R): Woman's Club President, Mavis Hansen, Liz Calvert, and Elizabeth Anne Bagasao, Philanthropy Chair

Masks have been used for centuries in various religious rituals, in masquerades, and by the “badmen” in movie westerns. Colonial women added to their mystique by using a hand held mask to cover their faces. They are also used in some cultures as a protective face covering and are widely used in the health care industry and military.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a new and essential use for masks among the general population. Masks, along with social distancing are required to enter a business, restaurant, or grocery store. Los Angeles County also recommends using them when you are walking in your neighborhood or hiking on a trail. Due to the recent increase in cases in California, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered that masks be worn in public places.

The Woman’s Club has embarked on a project to make and distribute masks to all seniors in South Pasadena. Elizabeth Anne Bagasao, Philanthropy Chair, and Sherry Plotkin, Ways and Means Chair of the Woman’s Club, are working with Sheila Pautsch, the Community Services Director for South Pasadena. Ms. Pautsch will be distributing masks to seniors (delivered via “Meals on Wheels” and available at the Senior Center). Pautsch will also locate masks earmarked for seniors at City Hall when it opens in July.

The club is reaching out to other groups as well. Since March, masks prepared by Club members Liz Calvert, Pat Payne, Pat LoVermo, Betty Emirhanian and others, have been distributed to health care workers at area hospitals and convalescent centers including, Huntington Hospital, South Pasadena Care Center, Prospect Manor Assisted Living, the Californian Rehab Center, and Meadows Nursing Center in Pasadena. They also donated 120 masks to Union Station in Pasadena. Anne Bagasao is coordinating production and distribution of the project. She is also the Club liaison with the Auntie Sewing Squad, a group of mask makers who have created and distributed over 20,000 masks nationwide including to members of the Navajo Nation in Arizona and the Sioux of South Dakota.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Woman’s Club of South Pasadena has been making masks to donate through a big operation

Club President, Mavis Hansen says “I am very proud of our many members who give so much of themselves to help others. They reflect my philosophy “Volunteer Service from the heart”. Our club works diligently for betterment of ourselves, and the community. We gather together in friendship and encourage membership to anyone seeking volunteer opportunities and to enjoy like minded friends.” The Club is affiliated with the Greater Federation of Woman’s Club (GFWC) and is a member of San Gabriel Valley District #20

The Woman’s Club, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization founded in 1899, has a long history of charitable and public service activities.  The Club’s philanthropic projects are diverse and far-reaching and touch many lives.  Projects include preparing handmade items (afghans, soft pillows and neonatal caps) and assembling hygiene kits for convalescent patients, hospitalized children and homeless veterans. They donate clothing to women’s shelters for victims of domestic violence, tens of thousands of cookies to hospitalized and homeless veterans each Memorial Day, presents to foster children, and clothing to homeless men and women veterans. The Club also awards annual scholarships to local high school students and several members also help at Nature Park cleanup days in the Arroyo.

The current mask making project is not the first time Club members have answered the call to serve health care needs. During World War I, and again during WW II, clubhouse doors were open daily and large crews worked in cooperation with the Red Cross to donate blood, roll bandages, and other medical support. As time went on, patriotic programs and support of the military continued, including the Club’s popular “Operation Cookie” which began during World War II. In the 1950’s, Club members helped host guests of the U.S. State Department who were visiting area schools and hospitals. Club members also assisted at polio shot clinics held four times at the Clubhouse for area residents when the vaccine first became available to adults. The volunteer doctors and nurses administered 10,000 shots. Throughout the years, the WCSP has continued to host a variety of public service programs and events for members and the community at the historic Clubhouse. 

At a time when many people are choosing to stay home and quarantine, it is important to remember that masks will be required in most social and business settings. If you need a mask, please call the Club (626-799-9309) and leave message. The club also encourages donation of light weight fabric and welcomes donations to help defray expenses related to preparation and mailing of masks.    

For information on other Woman’s Club activities and volunteer opportunities or to obtain a Membership application, call 626-799-9309 or email spwc1899@aol.com. The Club is located at 1424 Fremont Avenue in its historic 1913 Clubhouse.