Above, Faye Moore and Doris Mann are seated in the front holding the silver awards in 1975. (Special Photo)
LILBURN — In the early ’70s, there was no such thing as Lilburn City Park. It was the city dump.
Members of the newly founded Lilburn Woman’s Club saw a need for space that children could use to gather and play, so they worked diligently to convince the landowner, Gartrell Nash, to donate the land for the park. To contribute to the cause, the women also raised funds to help city officials complete the development of the park.
In 1978, Nash donated land which previously housed the old city hall, old library and woman’s club.
“Ever since that time our club has sort of adopted the park and over the years have donated and planted the many of the surrounding trees and gardens,” current president Patty Gabilondo said.
The group also donated the sound system for the bandstand, donated funds for the purchase of a new maintenance vehicle for the Public Works Department, was awarded Tree City status for the city of Lilburn, and received a grant for the large concrete frog and turtle, which sits along the Greenway Trail.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For the past 40 years, the Lilburn Woman’s Club has been addressing the concerns of its community and improving the problems.
“My goal then — as is now — was to make a home for my children, my family,” said Faye Moore, a co-founder of the club and its first president who now lives in St. Simons.
In 1972, 10 women came together to create the Lilburn Woman’s Club with the theme “Community Concern.” By 1973, the organization received its charter from the Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs. In 1974, the small club received its official charter from the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
What was once 10 members has expanded to more than 70 women — plus hundreds of past members — giving back their time, labor and love to the city of Lilburn.
On Monday evening, the current and past members came together for the 40th anniversary celebration at 1910 Public House in Lilburn. Moore was one of the guests in attendance for an evening of memories and familiar faces.
“I’m really proud of them,” Moore said of the group. “They’ve really done a great job.”
She isn’t the only one beaming from the women’s work.
“Since being installed as LWC president in February, I am so very proud of how this generous and diverse group of women continue to give of their time and energy in spite of many of their own personal challenges,” Gabilondo said. “In some ways, we give each other strength.”
LWC follows the guidelines of GFWC and GaFWC to enrich local and global communities in six community service programs: arts, conservation, education, home life, international outreach and public issues.
There are many ways the club has embraced the programs. Two of its members, Mandy McManus and Andrea Brannen, founded and manage the Lilburn Farmer’s Market which has become a popular weekly community event during the summer months.
In the ’80s, the group purchased bulletproof vests for the Lilburn Police Department.
Annually, they participate in the Lilburn Relay Rally in April and sponsors “Spring Into Art,” a juried art contest for elementary school students.
LWC also gives a college scholarship to women called the Patti-Jo Shapiro Scholarship. It is given to those who have made a difference in the greater Lilburn community.
“And the list goes on,” Gabilondo said.
Beside giving back, the women want to be good examples for the younger generations.
“Our message to women and girls everywhere is that there is no doubt that by coming together and taking action together we can improve our communities and transform our world for the better,” Gabilondo said. “Over the years our members develop strong bonds of friendship and support for each other while working on projects that can really change other people’s lives for the better.”
With more than 70 members, there is always something on the club’s agenda.
“Our next big project coming up is Lilburn Daze Arts and Crafts Festival,” Gabilondo said. “This will be our 40th annual event that started out in the basement of one of our local schools and has grown to be one of the largest family-oriented community events in south Gwinnett.”
Lilburn Daze is scheduled for Oct. 12 in Lilburn’s City Park.