File photo: Oswego resident Lindsey Sturm, 9, was one of the final winners at the Oswegoland Optimist Club's ninth annual Pumpkin Races in 2019.=
File photo: Oswego resident Lindsey Sturm, 9, was one of the final winners at the Oswegoland Optimist Club's ninth annual Pumpkin Races in 2019.=

The Oswegoland Optimist Club's Board of Directors voted Aug. 10 to disband the club after 43 years of serving the Oswego community, club officials have confirmed.

Over the past four decades, the club has become known throughout the community for its sponsorship of such events as the Family Christmas Project, Easter Egg Hunt, and Pumpkin Races. The club's corn roast booth has also been a popular fixture at the Oswegoland Park District's annual PrairieFest community celebration.

An email sent to club members and obtained by the Ledger confirmed that the club did not elect officers for the 2021-2022 year and there were no members expressing an interest n holding an officer's position.

The email also stated that the club "competes for the same community resources" as other groups in the Oswego area.

The COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the club's ability to fund raise and "our financial position is such that we will not be able to fund projects in 2022," the email states.

Several events that have served as major fundraising sources for the club, including the Easter Egg Hunt, corn roast booth and pumpkin races were canceled this year due to the pandemic.

Club member Jenny Hattabaugh confirmed that the club will still hold its annual Family Christmas Project this year,

"We have some remaining funds that can go to that, but we are currently short on those funds," she said.

"We also anticipate an increase of families needing to be recipients of the Christmas Project because of COVID. Many people have lost their jobs, or are going through more toys and items with kids home from school," she said.

Hattabaugh emphasized that members of the club are still out there and still care for the community and its needs.

"Some of us have already participated in activities through other care groups to help community members out," she said.

Currently, there are no plans to proceed with any of the club's other programs and activities, though that may change in the future. The scholarship programs will continue in some form.

The club will be active on social media and its website through the end of the year and is accepting donations for Family Christmas Project.

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