Carrie Wernick Newman. Courtesy photo

Carrie Wernick Newman. Courtesy photo

Women’s club is a vital organization, especially during the pandemic

Island fixture brings old and new residents together.

It’s all about forging friendships, breaking down barriers and getting involved in community service on Mercer Island.

Those key aspects of making vital connections are what drew Carrie Wernick Newman to the Mercer Island Women’s Club about 11 years ago. She’s currently the club’s president and shares a passion for philanthropy and socializing with its robust group membership. Currently, the club is about 255 members strong and has reached the 300 range over the years.

According to Wernick Newman, the club is more important now than ever.

“People are isolated with COVID and social distancing and feeling lonely, so we’re trying to reach out to the community to know we exist and to know that there is a safe way to make friends and be social,” she said. “It’s an outlet during this time of isolation to still come together, still make friends and especially in smaller groups.”

Its numerous activity groups — which include discussions about hot topics, books, movies, finance, traveling and more — are meeting on Zoom. They’ve also had breakout rooms with guest speakers and a question-and-answer period to close out the session.

The club’s Sunshine Group reaches out to help members and their families who might need a hand with meals, gardening, cleaning and driving to appointments during the pandemic. In non-COVID times, club members have served food to Island seniors.

“That’s what friends do,” the president said.

The club is diverse in age (20s-90s) and background (socio-economic status, nationality, religion, political affiliation and more). A historical timeline shows it forming under the Mercer Island Welcome Wagon moniker in 1963 and changing names to the Mercer Island Women’s Club in 1981.

Club members have joined other groups on Mercer Island and across the nation in taking a stand against racism and discrimination.

On the fundraising front, the club raised more than $1,800 during its December event with a portion of vendor sales going to Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, the city’s food pantry and farmers market and Youth Theatre Northwest. At the event, vendors sold homemade jam, cookies, cakes and more.

Also spreading its aid off Island, the club held a food drive and dropped off more than 60 bags of non-perishable items at Leschi Elementary School in Seattle.

For information about joining the club, visit

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