By Harley Nefe
The Blowing Rock Women’s Club is hard at work continuing to raise money for its scholarship fund. The nonprofit’s latest fundraiser is a silent auction for a piece of art that was donated to Village Thrift.
The piece being offered is a 12 inch frosted hand-blown glass Acro Bag sculpture that was created by John Littleton and Kate Vogel and originally sold for $3,500.
The public is invited to visit Village Thrift and fill out a bid form between now and July 30. The pricing team will then review the bids on August 1 at 10 a.m. and contact the highest bidder who bid above the reserve price. The winner must pay for and pick up the item by August 6 at 3 p.m.
The money generated from the silent auction will go toward the Blowing Rock Women’s Club scholarship fund. These funds are raised through sales at Village Thrift and financial donations.
“We depend on the community to donate items to Village Thrift and to shop at Village Thrift,” said Ann Rhyne, Co-President of Blowing Rock Women’s Club. “Everything in the shop has been donated by individuals or businesses.”
The Blowing Rock Women’s Club used to sell T-shirts at Art in the Park, and the money raised would go toward scholarships for students. During this time, the club would collect between $2,000 and $5,000. Then about five years ago, the group decided to hold a rummage sale at the Blowing Rock American Legion Building, which ended up being very successful. After a couple of years doing the rummage sale, the Blowing Rock Women’s Club decided to take the next step and open Village Thrift three years ago.
“The amount we’ve raised and have been able to put toward scholarships has increased each year,” Rhyne described.
Janet Stout, who serves on the Blowing Rock Women’s Club’s Board as Immediate Past Co-President, shared, “Working with the Blowing Rock Women’s Club has been very fulfilling and rewarding. The women involved are very conscientious. It has been a pleasure to be involved and see the results of our hard work in the scholarships we have been able to provide.”
In the spring, the Blowing Rock Women’s Club awarded $75,000 to 12 individuals through scholarships.
Anyone who attended Blowing Rock School is eligible to apply for a scholarship when they graduate from Watauga High School. Past recipients are also allowed to reapply during their college years, and applicants can attend any institute of higher learning.
According to Pam Washer, who is the Co-Chair of the Scholarship Committee for the Blowing Rock Women’s Club, five of the 2022 scholarship recipients had received funds in previous years and received awards again this year. Three of these students are attending Appalachian State, one is attending UNC-Wilmington, and one is attending UNC-Asheville.
The seven other scholarship recipients were high school seniors who are starting college this fall. These individuals will be attending NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, Tulane University, Appalachian State, UNC-Asheville, and Western Washington University.
Students who are interested in applying for a scholarship are encouraged to pick up an application from the counselors at Watauga High School. They should also look for the Blowing Rock Women’s Club promoting the scholarships on their Facebook page and through flyers around town.
“What a blessing it is to see all the hard work of the 60+ members of Blowing Rock Women’s Club result in our awarding $75,000 this spring to help 12 local students further their education!” Rhyne said. “The support of our community in donating items to Village Thrift and shopping there makes this all possible.”
The scholarship fund is not the only venture the Blowing Rock Women’s Club partakes in to give back to the community. For Easter, they stuff plastic eggs with candy for local preschools. They provide an appreciation lunch to all the Town of Blowing Rock employees each summer. The Blowing Rock Women’s Club has also collected items that were then given to Blue Star Mothers to be sent to armed forces recently.
“We feel like we have been blessed in all of our ventures and really appreciate the community support,” Rhyne said.
Vickie Hawkins, who is the Treasurer for the Blowing Rock Women’s Club, has been a member of the organization for five years.
“As a service organization, The Blowing Rock Women’s Club enhances the community spirit of Blowing Rock,” Hawkins said. “From raising funds for local students to attend college, to providing a place for citizens to donate items, to creating fun and rewarding events for others, members of BRWC serve as ambassadors for the town and have so much fun working together.”
The Blowing Rock Women’s Club is a 501(c)3 organization, and Village Thrift is located at 8332 Valley Blvd. besides Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant. The shop hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from April through December. From January through March, the hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.