The Scotts Bluff County Soroptimist Club gathered Wednesday, April 29 to make May Day baskets, keeping the tradition of giving the decorated and candy-filled baskets to residents of assisted living and retirement homes in the community.

A number of club members gathered around a table filled with an assortment of candy and colorful gift bags. They made 560 baskets for residents of nine local assisted living and retirement homes.

Residents will receive the fun May Day baskets with their meal trays on Friday, May 1.

The baskets are a tradition that many residents look forward to, Scotts Bluff County Soroptimist Chapter President Sandy Gutwein said. She said she had received a lot of discussion and questions in regard to the tradition of giving May Day baskets and if it would continue this spring.

With respect for COVID-19 health concerns, the club members gathered while practicing social distancing, wearing masks and gloves as they made the gifts for local residents.

Those individuals receiving May Day baskets will do so with social distancing in mind, the gifts will be placed on meal trays and set outside the doors of those at assisted living communities in order to maintain social distancing orders.

The May Day basket tradition is not only enjoyed by those who receive the gifts but also by those who make them. Sitting around the table making May baskets, the women of the Soroptimist Club all recalled a number of years making and giving May baskets to the community and how much they are enjoyed by many individuals.

Club member Dorthy Zimmerman said since she joined the club over 25 years ago, she recalls making these special gifts every year.

With about 55 club members, including 15 new ones, the women of the Soroptimist Club have been putting community service first, especially through a number of scholarships for young women in the area, Gutwein said.

“We gave $25,000 in scholarships to girls that are graduating this year and a $15,000 scholarship to a single mom of the community, so she could get her education to become a teacher,” she said.

The club is a part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, and participates in a variety of international public service activities with the international organization.

Gutwein said some members of the Scotts Bluff County Soroptimist Club have even gone on to run for and garner presidential positions of the international organization.

Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment, according to the organization’s mission statement.

The Scotts Bluff County Soroptimist Club will continue to work on community service projects during this time.

Gutwein said individuals interested in learning more about the International organization and the local club can visit its website, scottsbluffsoroptimist.org.

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