WELCOME NEIGHBORS AND NEWCOMERS
Looking for new friends and new adventures?
"New faces, new places, new friends"
Whether new to the area or embarking on a new phase of life, membership in the Walnut Creek Area Neighbors and Newcomers Club (WCANNC) is open to all women in the Diablo Valley area.
The Walnut Creek Area Neighbors and Newcomers Club (WCANNC) was founded over 45 years ago by women who wanted to help newly transplanted residents familiarize themselves with the city of Walnut Creek and the entire Diablo Valley. Since then, it has expanded its scope to provide new friendships, activities and networking opportunities to all women in the area seeking to broaden their circle of friends and enhance their life experiences and outlooks.
Walnut Creek Area Neighbors and Newcomers Club provides opportunities to:
Make new friends
Enjoy stimulating conversations and presentations
Explore the area through excursions and lunches
Share and enjoy hobbies such as Bridge, Bunko, Mah Jongg and Hiking
Participate in interest groups such as book and documentary discussions and community service
Article published in 'NORTHGATE LIVING,' June 2018:
Question & Answer with Walnut Creek Area Neighbors and Newcomer’s Club Co-President Mary Ditkof, Resident since 1999.
What is the mission of the Walnut Creek Area Neighbors and Newcomer’s Club?
The Walnut Creek Area Newcomers and Neighbors Club (WCANNC) is a friendly and relaxed women’s social club open to all female residents of the Greater Diablo Valley, whether new or more established in the area. WCANNC provides opportunities to:
· Make new friends
· Learn more about the area
· Share and enjoy various activities
· Participate in interest groups
· Give back to the community
Who can join?
Any woman who lives in or around Walnut Creek is welcome to join, although we do not allow the club to be used for business purposes. The club includes a variety of groups and members choose which ones they wish to participate in. These groups range from active groups such as Walk & Talk, Bay Area Excursions, and Pickle Ball to more sedate groups such as Bunko, Movies/Documentaries, and Games. We have groups to keep your mind active – Book Discussion, Mah-Jongg, and Bridge and activities that are more social such as our monthly coffees and luncheons, the Spirited Ladies group and twice-yearly social events. We also have groups for special interests such as the Grannie-Nannies group, Foodies and the new Hand-Stitchers group. One of our biggest groups is our Community Outreach group for those who wish to give back to the community and don’t already do so in some other committed way.
Tell us about the volunteer work that the club is involved with.
The volunteer branch of the club is our Community Outreach Group. Members of this group participate in volunteer services to benefit various charitable groups in Contra Costa County. For years we have helped the Bay Area Crisis Nursery put together their mailings and provided a home cooked meal every month for the Trinity Center. We have had to stop cooking for Trinity because the state has implemented new rules that require food to be cooked in authorized kitchens by trained cooks. We are keeping a watch on this situation to see what we might do to help out in another way. Meanwhile we donate personal size toiletries and gift certificates for food and other basics. Periodically we fill food boxes (with specified foods) for Child Protective Services to give to families in need. Before Christmas we buy and wrap socks and pajamas for the children and teens whose families are in the Winter Nights program and in March we make up Easter Baskets for the St. Vincent de Paul Society to distribute to needy families. On an ongoing basis, we do what we can to support the Youth Homes Auxiliary. This includes donating to and shopping at their thrift shop, attending their fund raisers, and collecting our unwanted jewelry to give to the teen-age girls who make it into something fashionable which they sell for “pin money”.
In addition to the Community Outreach projects, each year the President or Co-Presidents choose a charity and invite all club members to contribute. This year Mary’s Pizza Shack helped us donate to the fund for the victims of the North Bay Fires. Between the percentage of our meals that Mary’s donated and outright contributions from members we were able to send $800 to the fund. Two years ago we donated to the local food bank and last year we bought and made up card and candy valentines for the clients of Trinity Center.
What made you want to get involved with the Community Outreach Committee of the Newcomer’s Club?
The Community Outreach Group was founded in 2000 shortly after I joined the club, which was then a Newcomer’s Club. I enjoy helping other people and this group seemed like a good way to use my talents. Not only has it allowed me to give back but it has also given me hours of fellowship and fun.
Why do you feel it’s important to volunteer and “give back” to the community?
“Giving back” may not be for everybody, but for me it satisfies my need to share and to help others out. It makes me happy to give, even in little ways. Through the tough times of my life people helped me out. This is one way I "pass it on”.
What are some of your best memories or experiences as a member of the club?
WCANNC is such an important part of my life that I can’t narrow it down to just a few. The best, of course, is meeting so many wonderful new friends. Over the years I have taken some wonderful excursions, read rewarding books, eaten delicious food, learned and taught mah-jongg, seen and discussed fascinating documentaries, walked and talked (and talked and talked and talked – and listened) and helped out on Community Outreach projects.
One of the best things about this club is that you can do one thing a year or twenty things a month. I joined because I was new to the area and desperately needed new friends. When I returned to teaching I continued my membership – it was so inexpensive and I could usually do at least one or two things a year. Ten years later I retired and WCANNC was right there waiting for me with many great new friends and plenty of outlets for my energy.
Do you have a special story you would like to share about your volunteer experience with the Community Outreach committee?
It is hard to pin it down to one or two, but a highlight of every year is making Easter baskets. We donate these so that struggling families can have baskets for their children. Each of us buys the items required for one, two or several baskets from a provided list. The group funds pay for the baskets, grass, cellophane bags, and ribbon. On basket day we gather together and make an assembly line to put the baskets together. This year we made 112 baskets. (This project was organized for the last 15 years by Carol Bonfiglio who lives in the Northgate area. She and her husband Gary still deliver the baskets to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.)
How can people learn more about this organization?
The best way to learn more about WCANNC is to visit our website at https://www.wcannc.org and look through the material on the public portion of the site. You can contact our Membership Chair, who will send you more information. You can attend our monthly coffee on the second Wednesday of the month at 10:00 am. We usually hold this at Mary’s Pizza Shack in the Citrus Center while they are getting ready to open for the day. You can find more details on the website.
Members of the Newcomer's Club Community Outreach Committee make Easter baskets annually for children in need.