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Papoose Club is ‘Flippin’ Awesome’
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Monday, November 29, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Andi Meucci had just moved back to Sun Valley from Seattle with her husband and kindergarten-aged son in tow.

Wanting a way to immerse herself in the community, she decided to join the Papoose Club, which raises money for kids’ causes.

Papoose Club offered her the opportunity to mix gallons of pancake mix with a paint mixer for the annual Wagon Days Pancake Breakfast. It gave her the chance to apply her know-how as a landscape designer to the spring Plant Sale at Webb Nursery.

And it gave her an excuse to spend a day in the kitchen baking 30 dozen gingerbread snowflake cookies for the cookie sale at the Papoose Club Holiday Bazaar.

“I like all the events we help with because they’re fun community events and I’m an introvert,” she said. “They give me the opportunity to meet others in the community.”

Meucci was among three dozen Papoose Club members who turned out for a recent gathering at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. There, members plotted their Holiday Bazaar, which will be held this weekend at Hemingway STEAM School, and socialized over wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Krista Felton, development manager for The Hunger Coalition, asked for $2,500 for The Coalition’s infant formula program.

That would be enough to provide 33,000 bottles of formula for 365 children over the course of a year, in addition to providing for some special dietary needs of adults, such as a young woman who’d had part of her stomach removed, Felton said.

“Half of our community is food insecure, and that number’s increasing. The infant formula is one way to get people in the door,” Felton told the women. “Last year we served one in four people in the community and we continue to serve double what we did before the pandemic. We serve teachers, baristas, firefighters—people from every walk of life.”

The Papoose Club started in 1954 as a babysitting co-op for mothers who wanted to go skiing just-retired president Lee Dabney told members. They started a holiday bazaar when they realized there was no place for children to buy or make things to give to their families at Christmas.

They started the plant sale, bringing plants up to the valley from Twin Falls in the days before plants were widely available here. And the annual Kindercup Race on Dollar Mountain grew out of the fact that  mothers spent their babysitting time teaching children to ski on Kinderhorn Mountain in the heart of Ketchum.

The program became a nonprofit in 1974 as members decided to expand the mission of the organization from one of babysitting to nurturing the youth of the valley by raising funds for various projects.

 

“We have people from all socio-economic backgrounds because, even if they don’t have a lot of money to give, they know they can contribute a little elbow grease,” said Dabney. “I love it because every meeting I learn something about our community as we listen to the pitches from the different organizations like The Hunger Coalition.”

Louise Isaacs, the new vice-president, ran the Kindercup for five years.

“I love that we work in the community to earn our funds, then turn round and give those funds to the kids,” she said.

“I always like it when we do an event because I feel so accomplished,” added Alexis Lindberg.

The Papoose Club did not hold the Pancake Breakfast this year because it didn’t want to risk ordering food only to be told it couldn’t hold it because of high COVID-19 numbers. But the club was able to raise $22,000 for kids’ causes through the sale of a collection of commemorative Wagon Days posters that were gifted the organization.

Preparing for the prospects that they might not be able to hold the Holiday Bazaar this year, the Papoose Club collected recipes that members have baked for the Holiday Bazaar cookie sale and published them in a cookbook. The cookbook will be for sale at the bazaar this weekend—adding one more source of revenue for kids’ causes.

Oh, and wait---it’s not just all about Moms, anymore. The organization opened to men a few years ago, and it happily accepts those who were never Moms as members.

“We’re so excited to have everyone—men included--coming together to help give back to the kids,” said Dabney.

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