Three years ago, five women decided to bring the 100 Women initiative to the area, creating a place for women to help give back to organizations within the community. They had heard about similar groups in other regions and believed in the cause, so they decided to create a chapter here in Woolwich Township. Now known as the 100 Woolwich Women Who Care, the group has held eight meetings over the last two years – including all throughout the 2020 pandemic – bringing in $78,450 for charitable organizations.
“We had heard about it in other cities and other locations and thought it was such a great idea,” said Sharron Cook, one of the founding members of the group. “Not only to help raise money for charity but to bring education to the community about what was offered. One of the reasons why we got involved in this was to maximize that time, meet people and give back. So [our mindset was] how can we give back to our township, create a great degree of community amongst people that want to do the same.”
Leigh Rees, another founding member, says each meeting the group invites three organizations in so they can “describe what they are about and how they service the township.” After each presentation is made, the members vote on which organization they feel should receive funding and the group with the most votes gets all the money from that meeting.
When they join, each member of the group agrees to sign on for one year. During that time, they pledge to donate $100 four times a year – whether they attend meetings or not – this usually equates to $10,000 being given to an organization at each meeting.
Because of the pandemic, the meetings have been held virtually for the past year. Rees says moving to Zoom and having to get the website up and running was vital for them in 2020 as they worked through the pandemic. However, losing that social aspect of meeting in person was something they had to work to maintain while on a video call.
“The biggest [hurdle] was that people were loving coming out to meetings four times a year. The meeting [is] where everyone got together, [had] a little bit of social time to try and have a positive spin or something connected to it that made it just such a night a great evening. And so, we blocked that and had to figure out how to do that through the Zoom call,” said Rees.
Preparing for 2021, the group has already set out their four one-hour meeting dates for the year. The group is set to meet and hear from three community organizations as they describe their service and how they help better the township. The first meeting will be held February 9, with the remaining meetings coming May 12, September 28 and November 17.
Despite having almost all of the 100 members in their name, the group is always looking for new members.
“We’d love to be known as the 100-plus [Woolwich Women] Who Care,” added Rees.