When Sarah Reaume learned her organization was the first charity of choice for Sarnia’s new “100 Women Who Care” chapter, her entire office was jumping for joy.
“To say we are honoured is an understatement,” said the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Sarnia-Lambton, which received a gift of $6,900 following the inaugural meeting of the chapter, which was launched last month for like-minded women who want to give back to the community but don’t necessarily have the extra time.
The money, comprised of $100 donations from each member, will be used to support Habitat Sarnia’s second “Women Build” project slated for next spring.
“Personally, I was delighted to hear about the intent of the initiative and proud to become a member,” said Reaume, who joined about 70 others at Sarnia’s first “100 Women Who Care” gathering. Members nominate a charity of choice, with three names drawn at each meeting — held four times annually for one hour. Those three members present on behalf of their chosen charity, and the entire group votes on where the money will go.
“The voting was very close — I think it was very difficult,” said chapter founder Joanne Hines, noting the other two charities — the Rapids Family Health Team Momentum Program and the Lambton Children’s Safety Village — will go back into the draw for the next meeting.
“But, what really came out of this, which is what I was hoping, is how many members came after and said ,‘I had no idea these charities existed.’
“That’s really one of the key benefits of the club,” Hines added, “is that it opens the doors for so many charitable organizations that people had no idea existed in the community.”
The goal of 100 Women Who Care, a growing trend in community activism, is to recruit 100 or more women so that each charity of choice is awarded $10,000.
Sarnia’s membership is already at 74 and counting — a pleasant surprise for Hines and co-founder Linda Vandenbroek, who launched the group just weeks ago.
“I never expected this many already; I’m very excited,” said Hines. “I’m pretty confident that in January we’ll have 100 or more women, which is great.”
The next meeting is Jan. 20, 2016, at the Sarnia Golf & Curling Club, beginning at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.100whocaresarnia.com.