'100 Women' continues to grow

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On Tuesday, March 19, 100 Women Who Care Oxford reached a new milestone presenting a $9,000 donation cheque to the Helping Hand Food Bank in Tillsonburg.


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With Tuesday’s donation, 100 Women Who Care Oxford surpassed the $100,000 mark since forming in May 2015.

“We started in May 2015 and we had 25 members at our first meeting,” said Kelly Edmonds, who coordinates the group with Lorraine Garnham and Karen Horeth.

“We’ve now grown to more than 90. Our goal is still to reach 100.”

100 Women Who Care Oxford meet four times in a year, usually in Tillsonburg or Woodstock, and meetings are less than one hour. Members donate $100 each meeting they attend.

Members submit nominations for charities, and three of the nominations make a presentation each meeting (typically a two-minute presentation). Then they vote by secret ballot and the charity with the most votes gets that meeting’s donation.

“And then they all get up, put their coats on, and go home,” smiled Joan Clarkson, coordinator of the Helping Hand Food Bank, who made a presentation at the Feb. 27 meeting at the Tillsonburg Legion – and received the most votes.

It’s not a large time commitment, said Garnham.

“What we found is that people don’t necessarily have time… they want to help but they don’t have the time to do it, so this is a way to get in and donate. And people get to hear about local charities. They get to hear about them, and some go on to volunteer with those charities.”

“So you can raise $10,000 in less than an hour if we had 100 women,” said Edmonds.

Past recipients of 100 Women Who Care Oxford donations include Power of Hope, Ingamo Homes, Victoria’s Quilts, Camp Tanner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area, Andrew’s Legacy, Autism Dog Services, Family Violence Counselling, Oxford County Animal Rescue, Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre, and the Women’s Employment Resource Centre, building from $2,500 at the first meeting to the recent $9,000 donation to the Royal Canadian Legion.


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“All from Oxford County,” Edmonds noted.

“Yes, it has to be used in Oxford County,” Garnham nodded.

“It’s all close to home and it’s all women who live or work here,” said Clarkson.

“It’s always gratifying,” said Garnham. “Probably one of the best things is to actually hear how the money gets spent at the next meeting, because you really do get the opportunity to meet the people that benefit from it. And you know you’re helping local. That so important, I think, in today’s day and age when everything is so big and national. It’s the small charities, the ones that are in your backyard, that really struggle and we actually get an opportunity to help those charities in our backyard.”

“It is important,” Clarkson. “I think it’s just such a nice process.”

“The nice part of about the group is… no fundraising,” said Edmonds. “All we have to do is come to the meeting.”

“I think what plays into this is that you can get a substantial amount of funds all at once,” said Garnham.

“It was wonderful, I’m just so thrilled,” said Clarkson.

Charities that make a presentation at a meeting and do not earn the most votes are eligible to go back on the ballot at a future meeting.

“All three were worthy causes,” Clarkson noted.

“Once a charity has received the funds they are out of the rounds for the next three years,” said Edmonds. “They can’t present again for three years and that gives more charities an opportunity to get in.”

One of the early recipients – they started almost four years ago – is back in the mix, said Garnham.

“But you have to remember, back in 2015 it wasn’t $9,000,” said Clarkson. “It was $2,500-$5,000.”

As Edmonds noted, the goal is to reach 100-plus women, and when they do hit the century mark there will be a celebration.

“Absolutely,” Edmonds laughed. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

“It’s such a good thing,” said Clarkson.

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