Sorry to see the end

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

The realities of the modern age have combined with the pain of the Great Recession to spell the end for an altruistic group of ladies who banded together several years ago to try to improve their community.

Suffolk 60 Care, a charitable organization that began seven years ago when a group of 60 Suffolk women decided to join their efforts to provide volunteer hours and funding in outreach to the community, has disbanded, according to its leaders. In a press release on Wednesday, the group announced that it would cease its organized efforts on behalf of nonprofit and community service organizations in the city.

Announcing that S60C would dissolve its charter, President Jessica Mullen pointed to the economy, family commitments and other factors as reasons for the members’ unanimous vote to shut down the group. Alison Dodson Anderson, one of the founding members in 2005, also noted that Suffolk 60 Care had found it hard to attract new members to share the work to which the group had committed itself.

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The story is the same around the nation for volunteer civic and service organizations. Rotary, Ruritan and Lions clubs join other service clubs and church groups in the increasingly frustrating effort to recruit new members and retain the old ones amid the growing pressures that most folks face in just raising families during these days of conflicting commitments. Combined with an economy that has reduced the amount of money those families have for charitable contributions, the pressures are proving too great for some of those groups.

During its seven-year span, Suffolk 60 Care has done some great work. About 120 members passed through its ranks, contributing more than 1,700 hours of community service, including picking up trash along highways, reading to children and supporting other local charities. Through its fundraising events, which included crab pickings and gala dinners, the group raised more than $170,000 to nonprofit organizations serving the city.

It’s unfortunate that circumstances conspired to bring about the end of the group, but the ladies involved in this organization should be proud of the positive influence they have had throughout Suffolk.