Backpack and soccer programs favoured by 100 Women who Care

Cathy Ashby of House of Lazarus (left) accepts a $10,000 cheque from the 100 Women Who Care board members Tracey Veinotte, Marilyn Crabtree, Monika St. Louis, Christyn Veinotte, Joanne Ouelette and Janeen Wagemans. Phillip Blancher (right) accepts a $4,500 cheque from the 100 Women Who Care. (The Leader/Gibb photo)

MORRISBURG – In the end, it was the entire community of South Dundas which benefitted when 100 Women held their annual selection event at Upper Canada Playhouse on Wednesday, October 12, 2022.

100 Women Who Love South Dundas was founded in this municipality in 2015, inspired by the 100 Women movement which began in Michigan in 2006. Local board members are all volunteers who freely devote their time and talents toward ensuring this community’s “health and vitality.” Many, many women throughout South Dundas generously support the organization every year. To date, 100 Women of South Dundas has raised nearly $100,000 in donations.

100 or more area women are invited to contribute cheques for $100 to the fund once a year: deserving projects and charities can then apply for specific funding, and make presentations at the annual meeting. Either in person or on line, donors vote for the organization they wish to support each year: that project or charity receives 100 percent of the funds requested.

Co-chairs Janeen Wagemans and Tracey Veinotte welcomed everyone in person and on-line to the Playhouse for the October 12, 2022, presentations.

Certainly, the choice this year was a very difficult one as every speaker at the special event supported a worthwhile cause and made a strong presentation.

When the votes were tabulated, the House of Lazarus Operation Backpack program was awarded $10,000 and South Dundas Soccer received $4,500.

Speaking on behalf of the House of Lazarus, Cathy Ashby explained the need for Operation Backpack. “Some 40 per cent of our clients go whole days each month without food, and our hope is to support those vulnerable families. Backpacks are packed on Fridays and sent home with kids, to keep them healthily fed over the weekend. The food is nothing fancy or trending, but it is filling and satisfying.”

Operation Backpack was created in 2018 after the House of Lazarus reached out to local schools and learned of the great need in this community.

In South Dundas alone, the project helps 105 kids every week, but costs have been rising and the budget was “running short.”

The $10,000 donation from 100 Women will really help the good work continue.

President of the South Dundas Soccer Association, Phil Blancher, described how the soccer association currently operates programs which allow over 425 kids to take part in a healthy sport.

Since its founding 27 years ago, SDSA has involved thousands of area youth. And in 2022-23 over 60 people, some of them high school students, have volunteered their time as coaches and supporters. The Association is also funding a Fall program and plans are in place to launch an indoor winter pick up soccer program.

The COVID shut downs were very hard on the programs and on funding – since SDSA tries hard to keep registration fees as low as possible. Costs for maintaining fields and equipment continue to rise, but the Soccer program has been designed to put kids first.

The board of 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas will continue to support worth-while and deserving charities and projects focussed right here in this community.

Wagemans mentioned that among other benefits, this initiative makes a great many people more aware of need within the community and how they can help.

For example, shortly after the 100 Women event, an anonymous donor reached out to Dundas County Hospice to support and fully fund their plea for a new barbecue for their Day Program.

Current board members include Janeen Wagemans, co-chair and email contact; Tracey Veinotte, co-chair, venue and event planner; Marilyn Crabtree, cause selection and approval sub committee; Monika St. Louis, finance and audit; Joanne Ouelette, finance; Christyn Veinotte, technology and social media. New members for 100 Women are always very welcome. Making a real, practical difference in South Dundas, as this group has been proving for the last eight years, is definitely possible. Details online:

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