100 Women Who Care makes big donations supporting local seniors, female empowerment in Africa

Earlier this month the Mt. Si Senior Center was chosen as the quarterly recipient of funds from 100 Women Who Care – Greater Snoqualmie Valley. The donation, estimated at more than $10,000, is “wonderful” says Center Executive Director Susan Kingsbury-Comeau, and will provide a needed boost to the Center’s daily nutrition program.

Mary Barrett, Vice-President of Mt. Si Senior Center’s Board was also extremely pleased with the Center’s selection. She noted, “The big story here is the story of persistence.” The Center had been nominated as a beneficiary at every quarterly meeting since 100 Women Who Care – Greater Snoqualmie Valley was founded in 2016, but this is the first time the center was chosen.

The women’s group meets quarterly and randomly selects three organizations from the pool of nominees. After representatives from the selected organizations make the case for their respective causes, the group votes on which organization to support and the names are placed in a hat. The winner receives $100 from every member, and the group currently numbers more than 100 members.

“We have been waiting to have our name drawn out of the hat, and it finally happened,” says Barrett, who made the presentation for the Center. “When your time is right, your time is right, and that was last night.”

The Center’s nutrition program, serving five hot lunches every week, year round, will certainly benefit from the large donation, but so will other center programming. Kingsbury-Comeau explained that, even with a Seattle-King County Aging and Disability Services grant covering half the cost of meals and an optional $4 donation from seniors who eat at the Center, the program operates at an annual loss of approximately $20,000. While the shortfall is usually made up with sales from Boomerang, the Center’s thrift store, that money could also be used for other programming, she added. 

The daily hot lunches are an essential program offered by the Center Barrett said, and “a cornerstone of the other things that happen within those four walls. The sense of community people get by gathering at the Center for lunch, it’s a reason to get up, get dressed, venture out and engage in conversation with others. As we age, our worlds shrink. This program acts as a counterbalance, allowing our seniors greater independence and connectivity within our community.”

Barrett, also a member of 100 Women Who Care-Greater Snoqualmie Valley, added that she was impressed with the group’s attention to her presentation and their follow-up questions. She said the meeting, a packed house at Sigillo Cellar’s in Snoqualmie, was “a highly-engaged group of women, very attentive, and they’re thinkers… The women in that room love to be educated, and you could see it.”

Last quarter, The Snoqualmie Chapter of Days for Girls was chosen by 100 Women who Care to receive $12,000. The organization has sewn and distributed over 2500+ menstrual hygiene kits over the past four years to the women and girls in Swaziland. They have also set up five enterprises and a sewing center so the women of Swaziland can sew their own kits.

Days for Girls said the grant will be used to purchase kits that the women of Swaziland are sewing. According to a news release, “This is a win-win, the women who sew are being paid to sew the Days for Girls kits and the girls and women who do not have the means to purchase menstrual supplies will be given the kits along with vital health education at no charge.”

Celeste A. Mergens, Founder & CEO, Days for Girls gratefully commented, “The vital support that you have just made possible is life changing. Days for Girls kits and programs add up to greater dignity, health, and opportunity.  The support of 100 WWC will enable local leadership in Swaziland to sew and sell washable pads while being the creators and access point for quality Menstrual Health solutions, as well as, women’s health and safety solutions. By empowering them to become experts in education, behavior change, and marketing, this becomes a sustainable approach that meets needs in a way that creates jobs, leadership, and access. There are a lot of things that are hard to change in the world, but helping women and girls have all of their days back is something we CAN do, together. And you just stepped up to ensure thousands of women have what they need. We are honored to have your support and to partner in this way. Thank you!”

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