May 1, 2021
By Barrett Seaman– The Hudson Independent
Like many charitable organizations in the rivertowns, The Thursday Club typically relies on a spring gala, replete with dinner, dancing and both a silent and live auction, to raise money that is then donated to a local cause deemed worthy during the previous year. And like many, the group this year, its 100th anniversary, was forced to forego the fun and do its fundraising by mail.
Cautiously optimistic that they could raise maybe $30,000, the ladies of the Thursday Club astonished even themselves by raising $82,000.
The recipient of this year’s largesse is Sleepy Hollow’s RSHM LIFE Center and its founder and driving force, Sister Susan Gardella. In her letter to Sister Susan explaining the club’s choice of recipient, Thursday Club president Cathy Hansen of Irvington wrote:
“Members were enthusiastic about the LIFE Center’s commitment to helping their students navigate the new world of online learning and working with them to ensure they did not fall behind during a time of great stress and upheaval. The fact that the LIFE Center also consistently responds to needs of a whole family – distributing food and meals during the pandemic, arranging vaccine appointments, helping families figure out how to pay for rent and other necessities – makes the LIFE Center shine as a beacon of hope and caring.”
During the first months of the pandemic, the LIFE Center distributed 12,000 prepared meals and almost 15,000 pounds of groceries and produce to local families. In addition to launching a summer program for 37 children, the Center also started Learning Labs to support remote learning for grade school children. When school resumed full-time and in-person the LIFE Center pivoted once again and reconfigured their building space in order to accommodate all 72 of their students in the after-school program.
Since its founding in 1921, the Thursday Club has raised and donated over $2.6 million to area non-profits. The RSHM LIFE Center was also the recipient in 2016