A Barrie-based charity just got a boost to its coffers thanks to a donation from 100 Women Who Care South Simcoe.
The group, founded by Amy Simpson, Ashleigh Hrynyk and Rose Ficco in February 2020, meets quarterly to network and learn about three local charities. Every woman who participates donating $100.
The group met Thursday, Feb. 23 at the the Barrie and District Association of Realtors (BDAR) office, located in the city’s south end, where they had the opportunity to hear about the good work being done by three local charities: Fresh Food Weekly, Crohn's and Colitis Canada, and Diabetes Canada.
“This is an opportunity for (women) who are like-minded and want to give back to their community, but might not know how (or) where the needs are,” explained Simpson.
She said the group votes on who they believe needs that money the most at that time.
“It’s been a great eye-opening opportunity and connector, even to the charities themselves," Simpson added. "They have their focus, but they come into contact with a lot of people with other needs and may not know how to help or direct them. It’s (also) been a great way for charities to meet other charities or organizations and see how they’re doing things.”
Although the weather kept a large portion of members away, 11 women still attended the event last night and ultimately selected Fresh Food Weekly, which is a local food charity, as this quarter’s recipient.
Fresh Food Weekly, founded by Leah Dyck in June 2022, provides a free monthly meal box delivery program to low-income families residing in the Barrie and Innisfil.
“She talked about how they just moved their space to Thornton so they could serve a greater number of people," Simpson said. "They're doing 75 boxes right now, and she said with the new space, it has the capability to serve at least 20 more over time."
Dyck told BarrieToday being chosen by this group was “very meaningful” and that she is hoping to be able to use the funds to help cover the cost of the special Easter Dinner food boxes.
“It’s an incredible feeling just knowing that there are people who want to support super local," she said. "I think everybody knows that inflation is making the cost of food really expensive … and this shows that people want to help people struggling to eat.
"I was crying. Last night I got on the stage and started crying again, just because I get so upset about the circumstances that so many people are experiencing right now (and) it just really means a lot that enough people in the community care enough to do something about it," Dyck added.
And every little bit helps.
“If it weren’t for programs like this, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing. There have been times, especially in the beginning, where $1,000 makes or breaks (the program),” Dyck said, noting the program currently needs to raise more than $4,000 each month to cover the costs of providing 76 boxes.
“It does come down to every single dollar, and it means that one other family, or 10 other families are going to get fresh, free food that month.”
Simpson said they are still working to grow the group and are hoping to welcome new members who are looking for a way to help make an impact in their community.
“We are hoping to appeal to more women that were giving back to their community in a similar way, but who don’t have that opportunity anymore to come back together and join us to continue to give back to the charities, and to give them that regular boost that they need to keep going because charities were all hit very hard during COVID," Simpson said.
"We love to bring local women together and started our own local chapter of 100 Women Who Care South Simcoe when we couldn't find an active chapter," she added. "Theoretically, if we reach 100 women, that is $10,000 in donations in a single evening. We desire to make a larger impact right here at home and can band together to make a powerful difference."