The Coast News Group
Members of the Contemporary Women of North County hold tooth fairy pillows at a recent sew-in for Vista Community Clinic. Courtesy photo/CWONC
Members of the Contemporary Women of North County hold tooth fairy pillows at a recent sew-in for Vista Community Clinic. Courtesy photo/CWONC
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Local women’s service club lending a helping hand for nearly 90 years

REGION — For nearly 90 years, a local women’s service club has been working to improve the quality of life in North County San Diego.

The Contemporary Women of North County, also known as CWONC, has taken on several philanthropic projects throughout the region through the arts, conservation, education, military service advocacy, abuse prevention, women’s health, literacy and general community involvement.

The group, a chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, was initially chartered in 1935 as the Junior Women’s Club of Escondido.

While the club was originally meant for young women, the age limit increased. The club eventually merged with other chapters, changing to its current moniker in the 1960s.

CWONC currently has 39 members hailing from the coastal to inland cities, including club president Marianne Furtado, and holds monthly meetings at the San Marcos Community Center.

“We’re pretty much spread out throughout North County,” Furtado said, who noted most of the groups’ members are retired and come from various backgrounds. “We have members who worked in healthcare, education… who are retired lawyers, engineers and veterans. They bring different talents, interests and life experiences – it’s a wonderful mix of women.”

The club president noted that although “women” is in its name, anyone interested could join.

“We don’t turn away any genders,” she said.

Despite having a smaller budget, CWONC spreads its resources as wide as possible throughout the region.

Some of the more recent volunteer projects the group has worked on include delivering hand-made children’s fleece blankets to the Oceanside Police Department. The intention is for police officers to give blankets to children experiencing a traumatic event. In the last year, the group has made over 75 blankets for the police department.

Helping service members and veterans is a priority for the group. It has “adopted” a Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton squadron to sponsor gifts and parties for active-duty service members and their families during the holiday season.

CWONC also teams up with Interfaith Community Services to hand out hundreds of sack lunches and toiletry packets to those experiencing homelessness, including a growing number of veterans.

“We offer our manpower whenever there’s a good cause,” Furtado said.

The group also provides scholarships to local students attending MiraCosta College, Palomar College or California State University-San Marcos’ Medical Assistant Certificate program.

“We help them get their foot in the door,” Furtado said.

CWONC is open to community service projects, fundraising, social events and monetary donation suggestions which can be submitted through its website at

With deep roots in the community going back nearly 90 years, CWONC is here to stay for a while.

The next meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on July 10 at the San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Drive San Marcos, CA, 92069. For more information about becoming a member, visit the group’s website.