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Posted: July 5, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Amitie Club disbands after 63 years

submitted photo /The Covington News/

Treasurer Grace Budd-Spradley (right) hands a check of the Amitie Club's remaining balance to Rosalie Thompson (left), director of the Covington food pantry. The club had supported the food pantry for many years.

Grace Budd-Spradley picked up a yellowed packet of seeds labeled “Mayflower” and turned it over in her hand.

“The seeds reminded me of Mrs. McAdory,” Budd-Spradley said. “I was just thinking about how much she has taught us.”

Amitié means friendship. The Oxford Amitié Club took this word to define them, and for 63 years served the community with kindness and aplomb.

On Tuesday, June 24, 2014 Budd-Spradley presented Amitie’s remaining balance of $1,417 to Rosalie Thompson of the Covington food pantry, which the club had supported for decades.

The Amitié Club was organized in 1951 with 18 members. Both Budd-Spradley and Ruth Burson are still chartered members today.

The mother of four boys, Budd-Spradley said the club mainly organized to sponsor a Cub Scout group.

“That’s how we got in the business of trying to earn money,” she said. “We were cooking meals twice a month at the Lions Club and getting paid, and that’s how we supported the clubs we were interested in.”

For decades the Amitié Club would prepare and serve meals twice a month at the Lions Club’s meetings to earn money for the Cub Scouts. They stopped in 1978 to focus efforts on the Covington Food Pantry and other projects.

Two weeks ago, the Amitié Club emptied a CD account of $5,000 and donated all of it to the Lions Club.

“That’s why we donated that money,” Budd-Spradley said of the Lions Club donation. “Because that’s what it was earned for. Of course, through the years we’ve had many other projects, but mainly for the Cub Scouts. We helped a lot of boys go through that program, and it’s very worthwhile.”

The Oxford Lions Club sponsors Boy Scout Troop 211, Cub Pack 211, Scout Crew 147 and the American Heritage Girls.

“The Lions Club not only sponsors the cubs, but the girls, boys and other youth groups,” Budd-Spradley said. “They’re very busy and very worthwhile.”

Budd-Spradley believes that both Amitié’s donations have gone to very worthy causes in the community, since they had been supporting both the pantry and the scouts for several years.

In addition to these projects, the Amitié Club started a kindergarten in Oxford in 1954, participated in drives for the March of Dimes, Heart Fund and the Cancer Drive, and supported the Mental Health Association and vision and hearing surveys/testing in local public schools. They have planted trees, donated benches and cleaned up trash on Emory Street to fulfill the goals of their “Clean and Beautiful” project.

Their monthly meeting program read, “The object of this organization shall be to strengthen the civic, social, moral, and spiritual life of the community, to promote projects and to meet the needs of the community, to unite the citizens of the community in a mutual trust and faith and to keep its members apprised of the day.”

But because many members were getting older, and membership had fallen over the years, Budd-Spradley said the organization agreed to disband before their usual July-August break between meetings.

“I’ll miss it along with others,” Budd-Spradley said. “But it’s not as easy to have the programs and support projects like we used to. There’s more going on in other places where people can support. Oxford has been very fortunate to support projects and make this a nice place to live.”

Budd-Spradley turned over the seed packet again and said they had some very informative programs over the years, and learned a lot from each other.

“I hope the young people will step in and then be able to look back on the good they’ve done.”

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