WACO, Texas. For the past 42 years, The Waco Optimists Club has strived to live up to its name.
Through fundraising efforts like golf tournaments and selling Christmas trees, the civic organization has donated thousands annually to youth groups in need.
“Its a very rewarding feeling to be beneficial,” said Former Club President Jimmy Morgan.
However, due to COVID-19 forcing the club to cancel its meetings, its declining memberships and aging members, the club has decided to throw in the towel.
“We’re all older folks and don’t have the strength and stamina to do this all the time,” said member Louis Howell.
Currently there are fewer than 10 members in the club, many who are over 80-years-old.
This has prompted them to seek young new members but the process has been challenging.
“A lot of the young people that we really need say they don’t have time. They will give the money, but[say] don’t involve me in it,” said President Judy Benson.
Since disbanding, The Optimists gave their final donation of $80,000 to various Waco charities. This included:
- The Court Appointed Advocates For Children or CASA which received $35,000.
- Toys for Tots- $14,000
- Really Big Fishing Event for Really Special People- $14,000
- Mission Waco- $6,000
- Pack of Hope- $6,000
- China Spring Cares- $5,000
The club’s biggest hope is for other chapters around the country to remain strong.