Click thumbnail for image and description.
For over 70 years, the Service League has made aiding those in need the heart of membership. Founded in 1937 by ten Hickory women, currently membership is over 300. Through the years the Service League has initiated and supported many worthwhile non-profits in Hickory and Catawba County. Dedication to philanthropy, service and education are the core of their community commitment. (full article/summary)
The Thrift Shop, a major ongoing resale store, began in 1948. Locally, it provided a location for sale of low-cost household items, furniture and clothing while allowing members a chance to recycle their possessions. As needs increased locally, the Thrift Shop expanded. Over the years it has moved (several times) and finally settled into its present facility on US Hwy. 321 in 1998. For over 60 years, dedicated members allow the Thrift Shop to operate and run day to day along with a Store Manager.
Over the years other Service League philanthropic projects have included:
These and other fund raising events have permitted the Service League to give hundreds of thousands of dollars back to the local Hickory community.
In addition, the Service League has always served children and supported education. In 1937 its first project provided milk to underprivileged elementary children. In 2008 the Backpack Program began as a means to assist low income Hickory elementary-aged children with weekend food. Currently, members work with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and weekly deliver and pickup backpacks during the school year. Since 1954, the Service League Scholarship Committee has rewarded financially challenged Catawba County high school seniors through giving college tuition scholarships and merit awards. These annual gifts are made possible through the following:
The Service League’s financial and educational commitment served in the establishment of these Catawba Valley community groups and organizations:
Other members have supported community outreach efforts by involvement in the Community Ridge Day Care Center, Family Guidance, High Hope, Council on Adolescents among many others.
Over the years, the Service League has been recognized and honored for its strong community involvement. This is a list of a few acknowledgments:
The Service League currently operates from a central office at 506 Third Avenue NW, Hickory, NC 28601, 828.324.0201 and is funded in part by the City of Hickory.
Did you know that the Catawba Science Center began as the Creative Museum for Youth in 1973? This Service League project began in the Cilley house on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 4th Street NW in Hickory.
Source: Hickory Daily Record, July 25, 1973. Photo by Chuck Felts.
Governor Hunt helps the Service League open the Community Ridge Day Care Center.
Source: Hickory Daily Record, September 14, 1977. Record photo by Bob Lupinek.
Valley Hills Mall opened on August 14, 1978, with a gala benefit planned by the Service League. The event featured New York designers Charlotte Ford and Bill Blass. The 2000 attendees danced to the music of Peter Duchin and his orchestra.
Source: Hickory Daily Record, September 15, 1978.
Market to Market, a cookbook produced by the Service League, became a reality in September of 1983. 10,000 copies were published at that time. People pictured in the photo are Helen Brooks, Carolyn Moretz, Dorothy Menzies, Anne Mitchell, Nancy Matheson.
Source: Hickory Daily Record, September 23, 1983.
The Service League provided the Catawba Valley Science Center with the Starlab, purchased from proceeds from the sale of its cookbook Market to Market. Starlab is a forerunner of the Millholland Planetarium!
Source: Hickory Daily Record, January 18, 1986.
Service League president Sylvia Kercher and Hickory mayor Bill McDonald officiate for the ribbon-cutting at the League house. (Left to right) Barbara Williams, Elaine Young, Ms. Brooks, Ms. Hilton, Councilman Neill Clark, City Manager B. Gary McGee, and Councilman Glenn Hilton Jr. look on.
Hickory Daily Record, April 15, 1986. Photo by Kim Simon.
The Service League celebrated its 50th Anniversary on October 18, 1987, at the Arts Center of Catawba Valley. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a concert grand piano to the Arts Center.
Source: Hickory News, October 22, 1987.
WSOC-TV of Charlotte recognized the Service League with its "Nine Who Care" award and televised the presentation September 18, 1988. This award noted the following contributions the League has made to the community: the founding of the Community Ridge Day Care Center and the Family Guidance Center, the volunteering of time to the Catawba County Mental Health Center, the establishment of the Creative Museum for Youth (which eventually became part of the Catawba Science Center), and the giving of annual college scholarships.
The Service League's Antiques Fair, held at the Hickory Foundation Center, provided attendees the opportunity to view and purchase antiques from dealers from throughout the Southeast. A special feature of the fair was always the homemade soups, sandwiches, and desserts provided by League members. C. O. Miller (director of the Foundation Center and honorary member of the League) and his wife Carolyn were instrumental in the many successful years of the Antiques Fair.
The Service League offered its second cookbook, Taste Without Waist, a collection of recipes low in fat but high in flavor. Pictured here are Marty Cotton, Becky Simpson, and Donna Tripp.
Source: Hickory News, October 7, 1993.
The League celebrated the Grand Opening of their new Thrift Shop location on August 11, 1998, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This event marked 50 years of service that the Thrift Shop has had in the community.
Barbara Williams, Lynn Johnson, and Suzanne Hambrick, chair of the first Kitchens & More… tour in November 2006. Since its inception, Kitchens & More… has been the League's primary fundraising activity—and it offers the public an opportunity to view some of Hickory's finest homes while tasting treats prepared by the areas best chefs.