BWC auction supports scholarships

The Bedford Women’s Club, a nonprofit social and charitable organization comprising some 150 women from Bedford and elsewhere, hosted its annual Time and Talent Auction on April 12. The event, which originated in 2002, raises money for the club’s scholarship program, which has roots that go back to the 1940s.

The Time and Talent Auction, held at the Manchester Country Club on South River Road in Bedford, drew a multitude of members and guests. Some members revealed particular talents. Others offered their time, donated for a particular activity. Quilters, jewelry designers, glass artists and oil painters donated their works. A member who is a talented cook put up for bid a certificate good for 100 appetizers, redeemable in advance of the winner’s next party.

As the event in the banquet room progressed, honorary master of ceremonies Jon Snow, of the Bedford Fire Department, manned the microphone and also auctioned off dozens of time-related items. Members promised their time, offering services for lucky bidders such as in-studio photography, a home-cooked luncheon for eight, a weekend at a beach house and other creative offers. Each bidder in the audience hoisted aloft a numbered paper paddle to register a bid.

The action was lively as must-have items came up for bid. Groups of friends launched bidding wars on hand-knitted mohair scarves and colorful wooden birdhouses. The bidding was interrupted only for the enjoyment of a sumptuous lunch of salmon, raspberry-crusted chicken breast or vegetarian pasta.

One bidder went home with an exquisite handmade quilt – rendered in teal, ruby and blue – which secured some $300 for the scholarship program. Many newcomers to the club and first-time guests of club members said they were amazed at the imaginative ways in which time and talent were expressed. Approximately $35,000 has been raised over the years, and every cent goes to scholarships.

Time and Talent Auction Chairwoman Maureen McIntyre, of Bedford, pronounced the event a spectacular success and credited the efforts of the auction’s committee members: Judy Cable, Madonna Lovett Repeta, Amanda Cebrowski, Becki Kuhns, Jan Schlerf, Beverly Jo Snyder, Jackie Lucas, Carrol Horrocks, Bobbie White, Laura Pingel, Kathleen McMillan, Melinda Penrose and Evie Reed.

“I’ve chaired this event for nine years, and I’m so thrilled at the enthusiasm and generosity of everyone involved,” McIntyre said. “The support for the scholarship program is absolutely outstanding.”

The Bedford Women’s Club scholarship program was initiated by the late Josephine “Jo” Fearon, a former teacher and a past president of the club who joined the organization in 1938. The initial effort, the result of selling baked goods at a town fair, resulted in $25 that was earmarked for the new scholarship program.

Today’s scholarships go far toward helping Bedford seniors pay for coming college expenses. Last year, a Bedford High School student headed for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., was awarded a $2,500 scholarship. Others received similar sums. The program is one that also benefits those who are interested in nontraditional avenues of study, such as culinary training and physical therapy.

Currently, the BWC scholarship committee is poring over this year’s field of applicants. The deadline was April 1. Students under consideration mostly sought an application from a school guidance counselor or perhaps printed out an application from the BWC website.

The BWC is a group that offers a wide variety of activities and programs geared not only toward charitable endeavors but to social and educational activities matched to members’ interests. There are interest groups for ladies who enjoy bridge, cooking, dining out, Scrabble and much more. Monthly meetings, held on the fourth Thursday of each month from September to May at Bedford Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, feature a tasty luncheon and a fascinating guest speaker.

More information on membership, the BWC Scholarship Program or other club activities can be found online at www.bedfordwomensclub.org or by calling membership co-chairwomen Chris Buffey at 935-7228 or Terry Chapman at 472-3642.

Loretta Jackson is a freelance writer and BWC member residing in Merrimack.