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Welcome Wagon hitches to a new name

June 20, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

The Newcomers Club of Canfield, Inc. is the new name of the social organization formerly known as the Canfield Welcome Wagon. The name change and establishment of a new foundation will help the club keep on track to meeting its purpose and goals.

"I think it's a wonderful thing," said former club President Jill Daley. "We have changed from the little social group that was finding it harder and harder to get donations over recent years."

Club Treasurer Julie VanDevender said the name change came after months of talking with legal advisors. She said Welcome Wagon International has gone through changes over the years and was focusing on advertising. It had a for-profit status and the Canfield Club has not been affiliated with the international for some time.

To meet the two goals of the club, which are the social aspect and the charity side, the new look meant forming two sides. The first side, Newcomers Club of Canfield would collect dues and form a social network for residents of the Canfield area as a 501(c)(7), purely social organization. Through it the members could enjoy their monthly gatherings, and enjoy events such as wine tasting, outings, dinners and crafts.

The other side of the coin is charitable giving. The members of the former Welcome Wagon club had always loved raising money to help local charities. By forming the Newcomers Club of Canfield Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the members can now solicit donations as a nonprofit, giving the donors a tax write-off while providing funds to help local charities.

"Our name change happened in March," VanDevender said. "Our nonprofit status is still in progress."

While the nonprofit status is still in the works, the members didn't wait around to show they have big hearts. In March, they held a murder mystery dinner that VanDevender said saw roughly 140 in attendance. Their big fundraiser, along with several smaller ones over the past year, brought their total to $6,000, which three weeks ago was divided among 20 local charities. Charities that were on hand for the May 22 distribution at Old North Church included: American Diabetes Association, Alzheimer's Association of Mahoning County, Beatitude House, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Canfield Community Care Net, Big Reach Ministries, Dorothy Day House, Help Hotline, Knights of Columbus, Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels, Operation Blessing, Pregnancy Help Center, Rescue Mission, Silver Lining Fund, Sojurner House, Special Olympics, Youngstown Speech and Hearing, and St. Michael's Outreach Programs.

At present, the club has 25 members and interest from many others as it continues to grow. Club publicity chair Helen Madden Lewis said one doesn't have to be new to the area to join. All are welcome.

"The Newcomers Club of Canfield, Inc. has something for everyone," she said in a recent press release. "It is a great way to meet new people and build lasting relationships whether you are new to the community or a longtime resident. You'll meet new friends, have some fun, and help others in the community."

For more information, find the club on Facebook, or email



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