Georgetown Working League members Mary Swain, left, Susan Bean, Diane Paterson and Susan Means with this year’s quilt. The league’s quilt raffles thousands of dollars each year. Chance Viles / Coastal Journal

The Georgetown Working League, a 108-year-old nonprofit that provides scholarships and pays for projects in town, has opened up a thrift shop to raise money.

The Thift and Gifts Shop, located at 833 Five Islands Road, sells handmade crafts, antiques and more. Members hope sales will help offset the financial loss of their main fundraiser for the second year in a row. The large fair, which usually pulls in $20,000 each year, was canceled again this year because of the pandemic.

The Georgetown Working League, founded in 1913, uses the money it  raises to for upwards of 16 scholarships yearly for Georgetown youth and for other donations, such as to the library and fire department.

Georgetown Selectboard Chairperson Rich Donaldson described the all-women league as the “town mothers.”

“Georgetown would certainly look a little different without them,” he said. “They make generous donations to the fire department, so it’s not only the scholarships.”

“They’re a great bunch of ladies,” Donaldson added.

The Working League’s annual fair is usually where members announce the winner of its quilt raffle, which brings in between $4,000 and $6,000 on its own. Raffle tickets for the highly coveted quilt are sold through the year, said group member Susan Bean.

This year, the raffle drawing will be held at 4 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Georgetown Community Center.

Making the quilt is a big production, Bean said. Members work on it weekly for the entire year up until the fair. When the quilt is sold off, the process repeats.

The quilting benefits the members, too, because of the social time it provides, said Bean, who joined a few years back wanting to make some friends.

“I’d say it really saved my time down here. I was new and wanted to meet new people, and the league brought me in with open arms,” she said.

Susan Means used to vacation in Georgetown, but after moving there permanently she was concerned about making year-round friends.

“I didn’t know anything about what was going on here and they took me in,” Means said.

Means helps with the group’s public relations, noting that sewing skills aren’t a requirement of joining the league.

“It’s helped me learn a lot more about the town,” said member Diane Paterson, who joined about 20 years ago.

Mary Swain has helped out with league projects for decades because when she was a child, her parents were involved.

“I helped over many summers,” Swain said. “It just felt natural to do,” Swain said.

Later, she became a member.

“I worked as a teacher at an all-boys school, so I wanted to make connections with more women,” Swain said.

Means said the Working League “has been great for retired people needing something to do.”

Right now, the new thrift store needs people to run it.

The group is also looking for monetary donations. It has a reserve account that covered scholarships and other charitable giving during the past few years, but it doesn’t want to rely on its reserves any longer.

The Thrifts and Gifts Shop is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through Aug. 14.

To learn more, visit georgetownworkingleague.org.

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