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2022-2023 Annual Report

Blue Stocking Club Annual Report

May 8, 2023

I want to say what a pleasure and honor it has been to serve this remarkable group of women. I have always believed the Blue Stocking Club are the movers and shakers of our fair city. First, I must thank my executive committee, community service committee and Special Events Committee. Each arm of this club is essential.

It also has been a year of change. You spoke and we listened. In September a survey was presented to the membership. Monthly meeting donations will be every other month or 3-5 times per year. Our speakers/presenters will come to educate, inform, and enlighten us on the ongoings in and around our community. We raised dues, moved the date for a change of status and saw our friends in a new light with Blue Stocking fun facts. We added 4 new members to the roster while Membership chair, Kim Leonard, held an orientation luncheon imparting Blue Stocking history and mechanics.

In October Rene Rogers presented a program on “I’ve endured, Women in old time music. This exhibit at the Birthplace of Country Music is the first to be curated totally in house and will go “on tour when it leaves Bristol. Rene also offered a private tour of the exhibit just for Blue Stocking members.

In November we heard from Lettie Jackson and Imagination Library.

A highlight of our year is always the Christmas luncheon. Many thanks to Lea Powers, Annette Cochran, Jennifer Deal and Brenda Fincher for an enjoyable afternoon at the Virginian. Once again, you spoke, and we listened. The annual Christmas stocking came from a nomination from the floor. The stocking was passed, and we collected for Family Promise of Bristol... A Place to be. AS always, we made certain the Bristol Food Pantry had plenty of cereal.

I like to boast that we are women of action with boots on the ground as well as generous with our pocketbooks. Sara Reuning, community Service chair will tell you, we contributed many hours to: Bristol Faith in Action, Healing Hands, Birthplace of Country Music Museum, YWCA Bridal Station, and we added one more- The Appalachian Literacy Academy where we placed stickers on and packed up age appropriate, Caldecott winning books to be delivered to schools and select households.

In January we met at the new studio for Bristol Ballet and met the new directors. In February we assisted Healing Hands with their cupcake fundraiser. And as they said, we could not do this without the Blue Stocking Club. Also, in February we showered the Salvation Army with mittens, hats, and gloves and in March we collected pajamas and leggings for Abuse Alternatives. At that same meeting our own sustainer and past president, Billie Whisnant enlightened us with the history of relatively unknown, behind the scenes founder of Blue Stocking-Mary Keeney Hearon in 1920. She was so active in the literary world and establishing the first library you can see her name on a plaque at the Bristol Public Library. Check it out. Can you believe all the afore said was accomplished with less than 35 women.

And as if all this were not enough…we are not finished yet. For 2023 found us with a special event. Back in September Sustainers Connie Bullock and Mary Lynn Satterwhite informed us of a need for Girls Inc. Girls Inc had embarked on a capitol campaign to fund a much-needed gymnasium for the girls. But they needed assistance to add a kitchen to be used for meals, cooking classes and other activities. In steps Blue Stocking and with the special events team led by Tracie Blevins an in-house fundraiser was decided upon and organized. As one member observed, with a letter, an envelope, and a stamp, we, you raised $26,700. You are awesome!

Sadly, this year we lost several valued Blue Stocking sustainers -- Ruth King, Jo Anne Hatcher, Harriet Harty and Sharon Mooney.

It is always hard to say good-bye to our members who submit a change of status to go sustaining. Heaps of gratitude and heartfelt good wishes are extended to Brenda Fincher, Karen McSherry and Jan Rainero. And now it is time to pass the bell.

Barbara Smith

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