Women’s Club tea combines good times, charity work

November 2, 2010

By Laura Geggel

Steamy tea, little sandwiches and sugary treats await those snacking at the third annual Harmony and High Tea hosted by the Issaquah Women’s Club.

After a group of friends founded the club in 1983, “just a couple of women who wanted to get together and have fun and do some good for the community,” the club has intertwined itself with Issaquah, forming friendships and donating funds to local groups, community outreach chair Mary Mallet said.

Tea aficionados chatter during the annual Harmony and High Tea auction organized by the Issaquah Women’s Club. By Debby Bader

At the tea, women of all ages can catch up with their family and neighbors. Joann McHolland plans to bring her 12-year-old granddaughter, who has already saved $100 to spend at the auction.

McHolland joined the club in 2002, after a vehicle accident made it difficult for her to pursue her other extracurricular activity: golf.

“I think it’s a great friendship base,” she said. “It also lets me know what’s going on in the community.”

President Mariann Crane joined the club in 2006 after she retired from the Federal Aviation Administration. Crane wanted to give back to the community, and began by volunteering in Issaquah schools. After joining the club, she found she enjoyed fundraising for Issaquah groups, and said she liked that the club had a social aspect as well, filled with book clubs and lunches.

“We have a very diverse group of women. Some are still working, some are raising babies and some are retired like me,” Crane said. “I think what we have in common is our commitment to the community and trying to make a difference.”

Proceeds from the auction benefit local nonprofit organizations, including the Eastside Domestic Violence Program Continuing Education Fund, Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, Issaquah Valley Senior Center, Issaquah Parks & Recreation camp scholarships and Eastside Baby Corner. The money also gives graduating Issaquah seniors $1,000 scholarships.

“The kindness and generous spirit that you spread throughout our community will come back tenfold into tender young lives,” Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department Director Anne McGill wrote in a thank you note to the club.

The auction includes items from local venues, including Village Theatre, White Horse Toys, Issaquah Glass, Village Green Yoga and the Boarding House Cafe.

The club’s members hope to raise $20,000, Mallet said.

“There’s just a buzz of anticipation,” surrounding the tea from members and guests alike, Crane said.

Ages in the club range from early 30s to mid 90s, and new members are always welcome to join at $25 per year.

The club meets the first Thursday of every month at Tibbetts Creek Manor, 750 17th Ave. N.W. Each meeting features a speaker from a local organization, including Echo Glen Children’s Center and the Issaquah Schools Foundation. Its other fundraiser, Baskets and Buddies, happens in the spring.

The club’s camaraderie is Mallet’s favorite part of the monthly meetings and fundraisers.

“I love female friendships,” Mallet said. “It’s my time away from my husband and wonderful children to just gab with the girls. We just sit around talking and laughing and catching up.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or lgeggel@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

If you go

Harmony and High Tea

  • 1 p.m. Nov. 13
  • Pickering Barn
  • 1730 10th Ave. N.W.
  • $25 admission
  • For tickets, call Lisa Thompson at 677-8368 or e-mail oz8888@hawaii.rr.com. All tickets are pre-sale; they will not be sold at the door.
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