The Houston Heights Woman’s Club (HHWC) has been going strong for more than a century, and is not slowing down despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sept. 1, the ladies’ group based at 1846 Harvard St. in the Heights hosted its 120th annual kickoff, with more than 50 masked-up women gathering together in person for the first time since 2019 to share laughs, food and smiles.
“The best way to put it is that this occasion was joyous – there just wasn’t as much hugging as there had been in previous years,” member Rebecca Marek said with a laugh. “But you could still see the smiles, even behind the masks.”
Last year’s event was held via Zoom, and Marek said the opportunity to come back together was a long-awaited one – though it is not the first time special circumstances have challenged the club, which was founded in 1900. During both World Wars, the clubhouse was turned over to the Red Cross – but members of the club still met at a nearby church, according to a news release from the organization.
“Not many organizations in Houston can claim such a long, uninterrupted history,” the release said.
Since its inception, Marek said the club has strived to serve the Greater Heights and surrounding areas through outreach initiatives, while touting itself as a fun and an inclusive place for all women.
HHWC service projects include its annual school uniform drives and Women’s Studies’ library initiatives with local schools, along with donating books to school libraries and collecting gifts for children in the community who might not receive them each Christmas.
The club also supplies local schools with socks and underwear for school nurses in case of emergencies.
“We do a lot of small things, but things that I think are important," Marek said. "This is a ladies’ group – we think of the small things. Our projects are not flamboyant or big things, but they’re the little things. They’re about touching people and helping support them with their most basic needs.”
However, this year’s kickoff was not just about projects and fun. Marek said it also served the organization’s primary member groups with one of its own basic needs – social interaction.
The HHWC’s Heritage Group is made up of those who regularly attend meetings and luncheons, while its Evening Group is for those wanting to attend but need a more flexible schedule due to work. Many of HHWC’s Heritage Group members, Marek said, are older and among a population more vulnerable to COVID-19 – so they have been confined to their homes more often than not.
But the Sept. 1 event gave them a chance to do something that has been at a premium for the last 18 months.
“For them to be able to get out with another group of women, meet them socially, talk with them and have lunch is great,” Marek said. “It was just joyous to see each other, see the smiles, and see everyone using it as an occasion to get dressed up, get out of the house and meet their friends.”
For more information on the Houston Heights Woman’s Club, visit its website at houstonheightswomansclub.wildapricot.org/.