Sault is rich with women and men who care

Last month I attended a 100 Women Who Care meeting in Sault Ste. Marie. It was my first time as part of this amazing group of women, but it won’t be my last.

The premise is simple: Gather 100-plus women, who each contribute $100 to a charity of the group’s choosing. And just like that, a local charity gets over $10,000. There are four meetings a year, which means the group raises more than $40,000 per year.

Karen Dunigan, of Jackson, Mich., is credited with originating the concept in 2006, and it has since spread through many communities. More than 350 chapters have been launched around the world, including the Sault Ste. Marie chapter founded in May of 2016. The Sault also has a 100 Men Who Care chapter.

According to the website, it was five community-minded Saultites who wanted to make a difference locally who founded our chapter. The executive committee and founding members include: Sandra Hollingsworth, Patricia (Murielle) McGrath, Cathy Shunock, Marnie Stone and Rosetta Sicoli. Since then, Tracey Fyfe and Gabrielle Fogg have also joined the executive committee.

What’s truly impressive is that the 100 Women Who Care, have raised $11,600 for the Algoma Autism Foundation, $14,200 for the Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen Community Centre, $15,505 for Breaking Away, $17,575 for Pauline’s Place, $15,400 for Women In Crisis (Algoma), $17,700 for the No Limits Adaptive Ski Association and SkiAbility Algoma,  $17,185 for Meals on Wheels, $15,130 for Sault Search & Rescue, $14,906.75 for Spinal Cord Injury Association, $14,065 for Special Olympics, and more than $12,000 for Christmas Cheer. That’s more than $165,000 raised in less than three years.

100 Women Who Care have made it easy to contribute, and make one’s donation impactful to a charity. They keep their meetings short, and follow up with tax receipts in the mail. It’s ideal for people who have busy lives, and don’t have dozens of hours to volunteer, planning or running fundraisers. Not to mention it works well for people who want to donate but don’t want to have to sell (or buy) chocolate bars, cookie dough, etc.

With 100 Women Who Care it’s easy to commit to four one-hour meetings a year. If you can’t attend a meeting, you can also simply send in your donation. If you don’t have the $100 to give you can team up with other ladies, such as four people donating $25 each, and then your team gets one vote towards selecting the next charity.

At the February meeting, we learned about Christmas Cheer, including the fact that last year alone it provided dinners for 1,675 families, and gave gifts to 1,585 children of those families in need.

Of particular note to me was that one way people can help out Christmas Cheer is to put together the puzzles that are donated to make sure that all the pieces are there. I’ll definitely sign up for that. Santa also made a brief appearance, and we enjoyed a slice of pizza and some baking as we placed our votes for the next charity to be supported.

I commend the local founders of the women’s and men’s groups for the time and effort they put into organizing these streamlined events making it easy for the rest of us to “care” in a simple and efficient manner.

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