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Group has donated more than $200,000 to community over three years

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

South Coast Special Needs Kids received $16,900 in August from 100 Women Who Care Norfolk.  On hand for the presentation were, from left, Beth Redden (co-founder 100 Women), Betty Ann Carty (100 Women member), Scott Chambers (South Coast Special Needs Kids), Michelle Grummett (co-founder 100 Women) and Sue Goble (co-founder 100 Women). The funds will be spent on a new golf cart and new sledges for hockey.  South Coast Special Needs Kids is a registered charity serving 35-40 special needs children and young adults in Norfolk County. The group organizes activities that are not funded by government agencies. Contributed photo

South Coast Special Needs Kids received $16,900 in August from 100 Women Who Care Norfolk. On hand for the presentation were, from left, Beth Redden (co-founder 100 Women), Betty Ann Carty (100 Women member), Scott Chambers (South Coast Special Needs Kids), Michelle Grummett (co-founder 100 Women) and Sue Goble (co-founder 100 Women). The funds will be spent on a new golf cart and new sledges for hockey. South Coast Special Needs Kids is a registered charity serving 35-40 special needs children and young adults in Norfolk County. The group organizes activities that are not funded by government agencies. Contributed photo

SIMCOE - 

Co-founder Michelle Grummett is able to sum up the efforts of 100 Women Who Care Norfolk in just a few words.

“We’re a force when we’re together,” she said.

“It’s like breast cancer (fundraising), when women get together we’re a force. It started out with just an invitation letter and every meeting we say ‘bring your friends, bring your sisters, bring your aunts’. We still encourage new people – we were over 100 to start with and we’re up to 172 now.”

It all began in 2014, with members donating $100 at each of the four meetings per year. During the gatherings, three representatives of local charities make a five-minute presentation and those in attendance vote on which cause the funds should go towards. All money donated must stay within Norfolk.

In August, the group put $16,900 towards the South Coast Special Needs Kids for the purchase of a golf cart and specialized hockey sleds, bringing their overall total past the $200,000 mark. Other recipients of funds include the Norfolk Pregnancy Centre, Salvation Army, and Children’s Aid Summer Camp program.

Each meeting at the Army Navy Air Force Club in Simcoe, said Grummett, can accumulate thousands of dollars in less than an hour.

“It’s still exciting to get to choose where you spend your money and to announce a winner,” Grummett added. “When we announced how many dollars we’ve put into the community (overall) - some of the ladies would’ve kept track but some of them wouldn’t have - it’s very empowering for us to know we’re still making a difference. There’s still lots of charities and we still say ‘ladies, bring those charities in here’.”

The group – founded by Grummett, Beth Redden, and Sue Goble - includes women in their thirties to those in their eighties.

The trio first went to Brantford to observe how their chapter works and quickly established one for Norfolk.

“We saw how it ran, we tweaked it for us and we haven’t changed a thing (since),” said Grummett.

“We announced our rules from the start, they’re on our website and we don’t deviate from those.”

The group hasn’t just made an impact on local charities directly but also helped inspire the creation of 100 Men Who Give A Damn Norfolk, a collection of male citizens that runs on a similar set of rules and principles.

The best news of all is they show no signs of stopping.

“We’ve only been going for three years, we’re still getting new members,” Grummett said.

“A lot of charity groups do a fundraiser and they plan it and they get together and they do it that day, set up and man the booth for eight hours and they’ll raise $3,000 and we can raise $16,000 in a night. It’s a big impact.”

jrobinson@postmedia.com