Arlington Heights Improvement Club raises funds for community

From left, Laura Hofmann, Carol Lundberg and Ed Taft serve up home-cooked meals at the Arlington Heights Improvement Club
From left, Laura Hofmann, Carol Lundberg and Ed Taft serve up home-cooked meals at the Arlington Heights Improvement Club's annual beef barbecue July 25.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — The Arlington Heights Improvement Club's annual beef barbecue and auction drew an estimated 125 attendees and raised approximately $375 in scholarship donations alone on July 25.

Laura Hofmann, auction committee co-chair and trustee of the improvement club, explained that the club was originally established in 1948, to bring improvements such as roads and sewers to Arlington Heights, but it eventually expanded from its functions as a grange into a community club.

All proceeds from this annual fundraiser go toward community programs, including Arlington-area high school scholarships, Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to local families, supporting the Stilly Valley Little League, hosting political forums and storing supplies for the Red Cross. The barbecue began as a means of supporting a Boys Scouts troop that used to be in Arlington Heights, and the event has grown from there.

"We're more than just a club," Hofmann said. "We're a community. Kids who were raised in Arlington Heights have come back here to raise their own kids."

Senior citizens Gloria Abbenhouse and J.Y. "Dyc" Dycus have both been members of the improvement club for several years. Abbenhouse baked cakes and served as a cashier for the picnic for a number of years, while Dycus recalled how his children had planted the trees in the 1950s that now stand tall and surround the Arlington Heights Improvement Club hall.

"Joining it was a good introduction to the community," Abbenhouse said. "This is where I've met so many of the people I cherish most. I've made a lot of friends here over the years, and they've provided good spaces for our children to play, like the baseball field."

"The club members cut down the poles that they strung the telephone lines on," Dycus said. "Anything that's good for the community, they've done. The club almost went down a couple of times, but quite a few younger people got it going again."

The Arlington Heights Improvement Club hall is located at 12221 228th St. NE. For more information, you may call Hofmann at 360-403-0160 or fellow auction committee co-chair Carol Lundberg at 360-435-6488.

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