Clare County Review & Marion Press News

Faces in the Crowd: Marion EverReady Club

Over the last 113 years, a lot has changed in the Marion area.
Yet some things haven’t.
Founded on February 10th, 1910, the Marion EverReady Club – the “EverReady’s” – have remained roughly the same: A tight-knit group of selfless individuals dedicated to helping local community organizations and families in need.
In 1910, the EverReadys would travel on horse and buggy for their monthly meetings, picking up members along the way. For many years, meetings would take place at the homes of members where they’d all share a meal.
These days, meetings for the EverReady Club are held at the Winterfield Township Hall, taking place every 2nd Thursday of each month at noon. A homemade meal is always provided, and each month typically carries a theme. In March, the theme was St. Patty’s Day.
The EverReady Club raises money for the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, Osceola and Clare County Animal Control and Fire Departments, among other local organizations. The club organizes funeral dinners and helps support local families and their various needs.
And while 113 years might seem like a long time, many current members have ties to the original group from their childhood days. Many members got their start joining their parents and grandparents at club meetings.
Dee Jenkins is one of those members. Dee writes the monthly newsletter and is in charge of the flower fund committee.
“I’ve been here 40, almost 50 years,” Dee said. “I was in my 20s when I started coming with my mother. When they first started, they held the meetings in members’ houses. The first meeting was held in Cora and Arthur Rodgers house.”
“They did anything that needed to be done,” Dee said. “If a member had to have help cleaning the house, or if they needed help doing something, they’d do anything within reason.”
Jerrold Rodgers, 89, just recently joined the EverReadys. But 113 years ago, it was his grandmother, Cora [Alice] Rodgers who helped form the group. And he remembers some of those early meetings.
“My sister threw a rock through the window when they were having a meeting at my mother’s,” Rodgers said. “A spider was on the window, and she picked a big rock up and threw it through the window. I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old, and she was 5 years older than me. That sure scared the [crap] out of them women!”
With yearly dues of only $2, the EverReady’s welcome anyone who wants to join in on the companionship and commitment to their community.
“The dues are only $2 a year,” Jenkins said. “You can’t get anything for $2 these days. And it’s all you can eat. Different foods for different months.”
“Once a member, always a member,” said treasurer Deb Barker. “It’s good to have people interested in our community. We try to do our part, anyway we can. If we hear of something, we bring it to call and we see if there’s something that we can do to address it. There isn’t much that we don’t try to help with.”
Barker, a Marion resident for the last 35 years, got her start after attending an EverReady rummage sale.
“I came here with [another member’s] mother, who was one of my very best friends,” Barker said. “They used to have the most wonderful yard sale here. I bought a little hoya plant here about 16 years ago and it’s about 45 pounds now. They’re a good group; a good group of people.”
The EverReadys fundraise through rummage sales, and auctions, among other fundraisers. Each month typically carries a theme, depending on the time of the year. Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are big events.
Their next meeting, April 13,th will feature a pancake breakfast and everyone from the public is invited. The event will be in memory of Ines Brocht – a member for over 40 years, and whose specialty was pancakes.
“Everybody’s invited,” Barker said. “If you’re out here at 12 o’clock, we serve. We say a prayer and serve the food.”
In May, the EverReadys will host their annual rummage sale over Mother’s Day weekend.
“The 2nd Thursday [May 11th], when we have our meeting, people are welcome to bring their stuff in,” said EverReady Secretary Kathi Decker. “After the meeting is over, we’ll get the tables set up, and spread everything out, and prepare for the [sale].
Decker, who’s known for making a great cheesecake, enjoys the food, the people, and the companionship that the group provides. And she’s not the only one.
“The people, they become family.” Jenkins said.

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