SOUTH TAMPA — The members of Altrusa International of Tampa Bay are on a recruiting mission.
Eileen Hines, recently installed president of the 60-year-old community service club with 19 members, has adopted the theme “Reach Out and Revitalize” for the 2014-15 club year.
“We are the only Altrusa Club in the Tampa Bay area,” said Hines, a 23-year member of the organization. “The next closest club is in Ocala.”
The international organization was founded in 1917 in Nashville at the time when a record number of women were going to work during World War I and there was a need for a women’s civic organization. The Tampa club was chartered Dec. 12, 1953, at the Floridan Hotel.
It still has many of its monthly membership meetings at that remodeled location.
Through the years, membership grew and then, like many other organizations, waned. More women entered the work force, families changed and parents became more involved in the growing number of children’s sports and programs.
Over the years, the Tampa club has granted more than $450,000 to local nonprofit community organizations through its Wilma B. Hogan Foundation and fundraising efforts.
“We were among the first to support MacDonald Training Center and the Judeo-Christian Clinic,” Hines said.
In addition, the club works with Champions for Children — formerly the Child Abuse Council — regularly and has helped fund its puppet show that teaches about bullying. A couple of club members also are staff members for Champions.
The club also focuses on education and reading.
“We are all about literacy,” said vice president Nelda Goodgames. “We’ve given books to Potter Elementary and read to the children.”
In the June 28 installation of officers, member Karen Robinson focused on the future as she performed the ceremony.
“Revitalization is always a positive and most appropriate,” she told the new officers. “Altrusa is a builder of leaders.”