By Ali Renckens
Holiday shoppers searching for beautiful, unique Christmas gifts need look no further than the Ruskin Woman’s Club’s Holiday Shopping Extravaganza. On Saturday, November 16 from 8 a.m. -2 p.m., over 30 vendors, including the Origami Owl, Pampered Chef and Mary Kay, as well as local artisans and businesses, will gather at the club’s historic meeting place. Not only can shoppers browse hand-crafted glass, jewelry and other items, but, “It is a chance to see local businesswomen come together to support a woman’s club. There will be articles that can’t be purchased anywhere else. I just don’t know how you describe it,” laughed Robin Roberts, a coordinator for the event. The proceeds will be divided among the many charities that the club supports, such as HOBY, Special Olympics and A Kid’s Place.
This is just one of the various projects that the club engages in. It also creates holiday cards for veterans, cleans up the community and participates in the Veteran’s Day Parade.
“For 100 years, we’ve been helping the community. There have been a lot of women before us who have supported us, prepared the way and contributed many hours of volunteerism. They have shown us women how to evolve in society and make it better for women. Through them, we learned who to become as women,” shared Kathy Wiles, president of Ruskin Woman’s Club. The house where club meetings are held also has historical significance. Built in 1910 for the president of Ruskin College, it is one of only two buildings that survived a devastating fire in 1919. In 1974, it was listed on the National Register of Historical Places, establishing it as the only historical spot in southern Hillsborough County. To raise additional funds, the club rents out the Swiss Chalet-style house for weddings and other special occasions.
The Ruskin Woman’s Club meetings, held at 2 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, are open to the public. For information on renting the clubhouse, located at 503 S. Hwy. 41, or to learn more about the club, check out theruskinwoman sclub.org or GFWC Ruskin Woman’s Club on Facebook.