Take 5 with Betsy Suman

Betsy Suman gives back

As president of Assistance League of Greater Wilmington, BETSY SUMAN directs the volunteer efforts of 145 members dedicated to helping children and seniors in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick counties. Born in Massachusetts and educated as a nurse, Suman moved to Raleigh in 1970 where she worked at Wake Medical Center. With retirement, she moved to Wilmington in 1995. By 2009, when she was introduced to ALGW, she felt the need to give back. “I found this was a good way to volunteer,” she says. The group stages several fundraisers each year, including Bags and Bling, which begins at 10 a.m. October 15 and runs for a week at the group’s thrift shop, 420 Eastwood Road. Purses (possibly including some designer ones) are put aside all year for the sale. There are also specialty jewelry items and holiday clothing.

What attracted you to retire in Wilmington?

“We have lived in Raleigh, Charlotte, and back to Raleigh since 1970. We love the beach, so after retiring we moved to Wilmington in 1995.”

There are many volunteer opportunities locally. Why did you choose ALGW?

“I had a few friends that were members, and when I learned what ALGW did, especially for children, I knew this was a fit for me.”

Being President of an organization is a big responsibility. How do you juggle your volunteer activities with your personal life?

“I do find time for other activities such as golf, which I try to play at least once a week. I play bridge and am a member of a book club. I am also lucky my husband loves to cook and also grocery shop, so it is great to come home after a day of activities and have dinner prepared.”

What’s been a favorite find for you at the ALGW thrift shop?

“There have been many ‘finds,’ but I did find a vase, which is part of my ‘wedding china,’ which has been discontinued for many years.”

What’s next? After your presidency ends?

“This is my last year of presidency, after which it will give me more time to volunteer in our other programs. One of my activities is being a puppeteer with our Kids on the Block troupe. It will allow me more time to work in the thrift shop, which I love and helping with Operation School Bell, which distributes clothing and supplies to children in need in our three countries.”

To view more of photographer River Bondurant’s work, go to riverbondurant.myportfolio.com.

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Categories: Women to Watch