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Making the numbers add up for community

The members of the 100 Woolwich Women Who Care group just wrapped up their third year of collective giving, an effort that’s seen more than $100,000 in donations go back into the community via local charities during that time.

“We meet four times a year and members commit to $100 at each meeting. We invite three charities to each meeting and the charity must service and provide benefit to the residents of the Township of Woolwich. They each have five to seven minutes to present what they do and provide a specific as to what they would use the money for. Membership votes, and the charity that receives the most votes is the recipient of that month’s funds,” said Leigh Rees, a founding member of Woolwich Women Who Care.

“We’re at 93 members right now, so the least amount that they have received would be $9,300 and the most we’ve given is $10,400. Over the last three years, which is a total of 12 meetings, about $104,000 was given back to the charities within the township.”

In the span of a single meeting, a group of 100 women can generate a sum of $10,000, all of it going to bolster the chosen organization.

Eligible charities may only apply once per year in order to keep donations flowing through the community, noted Rees. Recipients have thus far received donations once per service program. The current recipient is Community Care Concepts’ adult day program, while previously it was Woolwich Community Services’ family violence prevention program.

“To have a cheque that you’re giving to some recipient for $10,400 after a one-hour meeting, it’s pretty epic for small charities. We all wanted to do something more, and I’ve always been involved in volunteering – we wanted to figure out a way and felt that there was a way to create a bigger impact. Organizing four meetings a year and you’re giving back thousands of dollars in a short period of time, so, it was amazing to try to see how successful the venture could be. It was probably more successful than we imagined,” said Rees, adding that new members are always welcome anytime.

The next meeting is planned for February. New members can sign up through the group’s website. Rees said the group hopes to be able to resume gathering together in a public space, as pandemic restrictions have kept the meetings online of late.

“Even if we have to wear masks and obey all the COVID protocols, it just would be so nice to be able to put the faces to the names and see people for real. Our September meeting was outside following protocol and it was just fabulous to see people again,” said Donna Robertson, a founding member of 100 Woolwich Women who Care.

This February marks the start of the group’s fourth year putting money back into the community through the collective giving process. The concept was a spinoff idea of what other cities or groups were already doing. What started as a local book club grew into a large group of women wanting to give back to Woolwich Township – Sharron Cook, Tammy Mayer, Tammy Willms alongside Robertson and Rees founded the group.

“Knowing that we gathered that many women together to better the community – we never in our wildest imaginations thought we’d get 100 women. The fact that we’re going into four years now and we’ve raised over $100,000 dollars – it’s all for our community, which is the best part,” said Robertson.

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