Riverhead Women of the Moose at the state conference in Niagra Falls last month, where the local chapter was recognized as number one in the State of New York, from left: Ann Marie Fisher, college of regents, Nancy Foth, junior graduate regent, Alona Meyer, past deputy grand regent. Courtesy photo

For the second year in a row, the Riverhead chapter of Women of the Moose earned top honors in New York State.

The Women of the Moose chapters are ranked by the state chapter based on their charitable activities and accomplishments for the year. Riverhead Chapter 1118 raised and donated the most money of all chapters in the state in both 2018 and 2017. In 2016, it ranked number two.

It’s a remarkable achievement for a chapter that was struggling not too long ago. But a core group of 15 or 20 women has worked to change it.

“We’ve come a long way,” said past senior regent Ann Marie Fisher, who led the chapter in 2017. “We’re lucky to have a lot of hardworking women and a great board.”

Each chapter raises funds to support two Moose charities: Mooseheart Child City and School, a home for children and teens in need in Chicago, Illinois; and Moosehaven, a retirement community and life care center for Moose members and their spouses in Orange Park, Florida.

But each chapter is also committed to raising funds to support other charitable organizations, especially groups in their own communities. The Riverhead chapter has supported the Butterfly Effect Project, Suffolk County United Veterans in Yaphank, East End Hospice, local food pantries, Head Start, a local homeless shelter, Ronald McDonald House, Hope House, Susan G. Komen and Birthright — among others.

“It’s very rewarding work,” Fisher said.

Nancy Foth, the chapter’s senior regent in 2018, agreed.

“It’s a wonderful organization,” she said. “It’s not one person — it’s all of us together as a team.”

Foth, a nine-year member of the Riverhead chapter, said her father was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose, an all-male organization founded in 1888. Women of the Moose was founded in 1913 as an auxiliary organization, but is “now considered an integral unit of the order,” according to the Loyal Order of Moose “Information Book.”

“We work well with the men,” Foth said. “A lot of people think the structure is archaic,” she said. “They are working on putting the two together.”

There’s a new energy at the Riverhead Moose Lodge, Fisher and Foth both said. The lodge itself has been renovated and the organization has been able to fund improvements to the building with banquet hall rentals, Fisher said.

“It’s a great club,” Fisher said. “When you learn about it, what we’re really doing,” she said, “We’ve got a great team.”

Moose International boasts over 1,600 lodges across North America and more than 1 million members.

Chapters are led by a board comprised of a senior regent, junior graduate regent (the immediate past senior regent), junior regent, secretary/treasurer and recorder.

Members can earn degrees that are conferred by Women of the Moose as members advance in the organization, ultimately earning the College of Regents degree, which recognizes past regents for their outstanding accomplishments and services.

The Riverhead Chapter (No. 1118) was recognized during ceremonies at the state conference in Niagra Falls Aug. 24-25.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.