MARENGO — The first dinner celebration of Women United of Morrow County brought together 48 women for fellowship and fun at Hoof Hearted Brewery just south of Marengo.
Women had the opportunity to taste some of the nationally and internationally known IPA brews along with scrumptious hors d’oeuvres prepared by Hoof Hearted Chef Justin Wotring.
Guest speaker Kelly Brenneman, Executive Director at United Way of Knox County, spoke with passion of her experiences and projects with Women United in Knox County. Her favorite topic is their latest project of furnishing a home for women in rehab for addiction.
Through their Power of the Purse fundraiser, Women United of Knox County raised $10,000 the first year and $80,000 this year. With those dollars they funded projects like the rehab center, Bags of Love for new mothers, an after school program and a dozen other projects.
Brenneman recommended that the Morrow County Women United start with small projects and look for projects that aren’t funded in some other way. She suggested that projects should be chosen and led by members. She emphasized that women’s time and talents are as important contributions as money.
United Way Director Jodi Hayes talked about the Women United Fundraiser last year, Purse Bingo that raised $7,000 for Morrow County projects at the former Pine Lakes Golf Club. She announced that the next Purse Bingo will be Sept. 7 at Beverly Mansion in Sparta.
“We need to assess the needs in Morrow County first,” Hayes said, “We need to brainstorm, and then start with small projects.”
Women enjoyed visiting, networking and meeting with friends after the program.
“It’s great to have this new group of women,” retired teacher/librarian Cathy Oyster commented. “We have lost so many of the service groups like Sorosis, Beta Progress and mothers clubs.”
Mount Gilead teacher Maggie McElroy said it will be good for the group to look at what is already being done so there isn’t duplication of projects.
Joanne Trainer, RN asked about the possibility of a women’s shelter in the county. At present United Way supports Turning Point in Marion. Hayes said transportation is sometimes a problem for them.
The next meeting for Women United of Morrow County will be at the Morrow County Hospital downstairs meeting room from 7-8 p.m. on June 11. Hayes plans a meeting to brainstorm and share ideas for projects. She envisions having monthly meetings for Women United with one or two large events in the year.