It was several thousand more than they ever imagined. Bags and boxes of books were everywhere. In just three weeks, they’d collected more than 4,500 books during their very first book drive. The plan was to divide the books among a handful of their philanthropic partners, but there were so many that they started two libraries at elementary schools in the city.

“There were no books in those libraries,” says Amanda Hufnagel, president of the Northern Westchester Chapter of the National Charity League (NCL). “We gave them close to 2,000 books each, and it was so successful that we’re doing it again this year.”

The Northern Westchester Chapter of NCL, the first mother-daughter charitable organization in the U.S., officially formed on December 6, 2020. And since that time, they’ve grown to include over 100 members.

“There are close to 300 chapters around the country, and each chapter is committed to philanthropy,” Hufnagel explains. “In addition to our four national charities, we’ve developed partnerships with 14 local organizations, including The Community Center of Northern Westchester, Ronald McDonald House and Neighbor’s Link. And we also introduce different cultural, etiquette and leadership skills to the Ticktockers each year.”

Ticktockers?

“The daughters are referred to as Ticktockers,” Hufnagel explains. “And it has nothing to do with dancing on social media. They don’t know for sure, but they think the name came from when the children watched the clock while their moms volunteered.”

The organization began almost 100 years ago when a group of women in Los Angeles came together to make layettes for the American Red Cross. They called themselves The Charity League. In 1947, they reorganized and renamed themselves the National Charity League (NCL), opening their membership to mothers, called Patronesses, and their daughters.

“I look at it like this,” says Allison Shaw, the vice president of membership, “my daughter and I wanted to do philanthropy, and we wanted to do something together. NCL was perfect because it’s organized philanthropy. In other words, we’re organizing the opportunities for everyone. We give the members information on where and when they can volunteer and what they’ll do while they’re there. All they have to do is sign up.”

Options range from tutoring children with special needs and sorting food/clothing for The Community Center, to cooking meals and volunteering with seniors. They also organize special projects throughout the year, like the book drive.

“In December, we collected kitchenware for The Furniture Sharehouse, which provides essential household items to families in Westchester,” Shaw explains. “We collected over 1,000 items, including plates, utensils, small appliances and bakeware.”

The group meets monthly to discuss upcoming projects, learn about various community issues and help the Ticktockers develop leadership skills.

“It’s also a great way for mothers and daughters to connect,” says Hufnagel. “I cherish the time NCL has allowed me to spend with my daughter; it’s deepened our bond.”

NCL enrollment is from January 15 to March 15 and open to mothers and their daughters who are entering grades 7–11 in the fall of 2024.

To learn more or attend a prospective members’ event, email membershipnorthernwestchester@nclonline.org.

This partner content was published in the January/February 2024 edition of Connect to Northern Westchester.

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The editorial staff at Connect To magazine.