Georgetown Working League Members pose for a photo. The group has over 60 active members, with around 15 or 20 regularly attending sewing sessions on Monday morning, according to group president Susan Bean. Contributed / Susan Bean

The Georgetown Working League was founded in 1913 to carry out a simple mission: Keep the fire going in the town’s First Baptist Church during the winter.

Much has changed in the decades since. The group, no longer affiliated with the church, became a women’s organization, then invited men back into the fold. Members have switched from firewood collecting to bandage rolling to quilting.

But through it all, the League’s goal has remained essentially the same — keep the community warm.

On Saturday, the organization will host its BID$ and BITE$ fundraiser from 9 a.m. to noon at the Georgetown Community Center. A bake sale, silent auction and quilt raffle will fund the group’s scholarship program and numerous other charitable donations Georgetown Finance Director and Treasurer Mary McDonald called “critical.”

“They’ve raised money to support various organizations in town, from the community center to the Georgetown Island Education Foundation to the school to the library,” she said. “It’s been an integral part of the town.”

The League has had to find creative ways to raise money since the start of the pandemic, according to Susan Bean, the group’s president. Unable to host their traditional blowout fair at Georgetown Central School, members opened a “Thrifts and Gifts Shop” in Georgetown’s Old Post Office Gallery and organized this year’s smaller silent auction.


Several paintings up for auction await bidders at the Georgetown Community Center. Contributed / Susan Bean

“We are very good at having ideas, putting them out there, discussing them and compromising,” Bean said. “Everybody’s willing to step up and do their part. It’s one of the most gratifying organizations I’ve ever been involved with.”

Like many members, Bean was swept into the League almost before she understood what was happening. Shortly after she and her husband arrived from Boothbay five years ago, a stranger struck up a conversation and invited her to the group’s regular Monday morning quilting session.

Bean was immediately hooked on the structure and community the League provided.

“It’s really a social network above all,” she said. “I bring my neighbor. She’s 91 and doesn’t quilt anymore, but she still comes just for the camaraderie.”

“They’ll help you with your problems,” agreed Betsy Cook, a 35-year Working League veteran and the group’s unofficial historian. “They’ll laugh with you. If there’s a death in the family, this group, all of them, are the first ones to bring something to your door.”

Four panels sewn by Georgetown Working League members offer a preview of the twin-size “Welcome Home” quilt that will be raffled off at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Contributed / Susan Bean

The 76 items up for auction on Saturday include Patriots preseason tickets, boat rides, and an overnight stay at Seguin Tree Dwellings. After bids close at 11 a.m., the group will raffle off a twin-size quilt the group’s members have spent a year sewing.

Proceeds will help the group continue donating money to organizations like the Georgetown Historical Society and providing scholarships for local students, who received 18 scholarships worth $24,000 this year, according to Bean.

The Working League may not look the same as it did 109 years ago, but its spirit remains the same.

“Everything goes back into the community,” Cook said. “It’s like not that it’s expected of us. It’s just that we want to do it.”

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