Not a lot of people belong to the Progressive Civics and Recreational Club, but its strength lies in its members' commitment to the community, not in number.
"Our purpose, our mission, is an educational purpose, a charitable purpose," said George Roberts, president of the not-for-profit organization.
Roberts, like many others in the club, is retired. He served 25 years as a supervisor for Exxon-Mobil. He got together with others in the community, mostly African-American men who had retired, who wanted to see community development and support for education, both at the local level and higher education.
"Our members are retired teachers, coaches, city councilmen, a principal, deacons and trustees of the churches," Roberts said.
The projects the club undertakes are many, but many center on education.
Recently it was responsible for providing 20 needy students with uniforms for back-to-school. In that endeavor, the club worked with Just-4-Kids and store owner Donna Holley. She was able to assist the club by providing it with a discount on the uniforms it purchased.
The children were selected because someone brought their needs to the attention of the club. Roberts said that each member of the club has a commitment to recruit those in need.
"This was based on need, not on color, creed or religion," Roberts said. "Our work doesn't stop at the railroad tracks. This economic crunch is hurting everyone."
It has also provided school supplies and often helps when a family is in crisis, such as an unexpected death and its expenses, or when a home is destroyed by fire. One of the projects that has been ongoing for several years, though, is the college scholarship program.
"Students apply to us, and are screened by several criteria," Roberts said. "We consider need and GPA."
The scholarships are awarded to the student, and sent to his or her selected school upon admission or registration. The budget of the current year dictates the number of students the club can help. It sets a goal of five. Support for club activities comes through the United Fund, grants, private and corporate donations. It also raises money through luncheons and other fund-raising projects such as raffles and garage sales.