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South East Garden Club donates, raises funds

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

A crowd fills the room during the South East Garden Club’s 10th annual Scholarship Banquet and Auction on Saturday at Madera Municipal Golf Course.


Members and Friends of the Southeast Garden Club met Saturday night at the Madera Municipal Golf Course banquet hall to award $3,000 in scholarships to Madera students and raise money for the next round of scholarships, slated for next year.


According to a history of the club, it began in May of 1952, established by a group of women who had a desire to help promote educational growth among the black students of Madera High School. They also wanted to help beautify their community.


The first meeting was held in the home of Lucille Hughes, now Lucille Murphy, who attended Saturday night’s festivities. Mrs. Murphy said she is 98.


Today, the meetings continue to be held in various members’ homes on the third Monday of each month.


The first scholarship, in 1952, was for $25, and was presented to Ida Chapman, who went on to earn a degree from Cal State Sacramento.


Today, the awards have increased to five scholarships totaling $5,000.


The club has made contributions to many charitable organizations that support causes for health, and civic improvements. These include the Crippled Children’s Foundation, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the Jesse Owens Relay for Life, the Madera Rescue Mission and the Abused Women’s Shelter, to name a few.


The club also has donated more than $1,000 to the beautification and renewal Memorial Courthouse Park. The plaque in the entrance of the old Courthouse Museum building bears the club’s name.


The women also work in their gardens, exchanging plants and bulbs to help beautify their homes as well as the homes of other members. Some of the gardens can be seen at the homes of Maxine Barnett, Ruth Henderson, Georgia Robinson, Moira Farrelly, Lucile Murphy and Martha Conley, to name a few.