Lacombe women aim to help the community through Give, Share, Care

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Women can make a difference, and 100 women can make even more to benefit the community.

That’s the goal of Give, Share, Care – a group of Lacombe women working to give back to the community and help a number of local organizations.

One of the original five founding members, Debra Grabo, says the group was very much inspired by the 100 Women Who Care network of women – such as that in Red Deer, which has now been going for about four years.

“Several of us had wanted to do that and got to talking and decided together we could make it happen,” she said.

“In a short amount of time – one evening – the hope is to raise $10,000 in one evening to impact charitable organizations in the local community. Really, it’s to make a difference in our own hometown.”

The 100 Women Who Care – and other like-minded groups such as 100 Men Who Care – originated in Jackson, Michigan in 2006 as a way to raise money quickly and efficiently for local charities. In their first one-hour meeting, $10,000 was raised, and members donated the entirety to a single local charitable cause.

The idea caught on, and organizations have sprung up across North America – and most recently with Give, Share, Care, Lacombe.

An information meeting was held in September at Best Western, with over 30 people in attendance. Since, the group has grown to about 50, and ideally, they’d like to grow to 100 or more.

The first official meeting where they’ll have nominations and vote on an organization in the community to support will be held this Wednesday, Nov. 28 in the County Room at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

The hope is for meetings to become quarterly, with each member donating $100 at each of the meetings – a total of $40,000 a year for the community.

The key to the group’s efforts, however, is its focus on supporting local charities and organizations, rather than national ones.

“I’ve given to STARS and other charities when they come to the door and things like that, but there’s no way to tell if (the donation) stays in the community,” Grabo said. “The other thing is there’s so many different groups you never hear of that have been around for a long time. It gives everyone a chance to learn a bit more about their community and what’s happening.”

As such, one of the requirements nominated charities and organization must have is they’re local or central Alberta-based.

The second key, meanwhile, is focusing the entire group of women to donate towards a single cause, rather than splitting their fundraising efforts across a multitude of charities and non-profits at different times where it may not have the same effect.

“Everyone wants to be a part of their community. Everyone does a lot for organizations in our community, but when we get together and work together, you can notably see the difference you’re going to make when someone wins the nomination for our support,” she said. “The more people we have, the more we’ll be able to give back.”

While the group is just getting started, there’s already community buy-in and support, with various community groups donating venues for meetings, or local businesses such as Strand Media providing print items at no cost.

“Everyone is realizing what this does for the community,” she said.

Those who want to get involved or find out more can visit the Give, Share, Care Lacombe Facebook page @givesharecarelacombe.