The national nonprofit Dining for Women began with a goal to reach women in impoverished nations, one potluck at a time.
The effort since 2002 has reached hundreds of women worldwide, with a collective giving model that has raised more than $2.1 million.
Two Sedalia women hope to be part of that model, with a local chapter aimed for expansion.
Betty Purkey-Huck and Sharon Padilla were neighbors and walking buddies who heard about Dining for Women and decided to join the effort. The two, who have lived in Sedalia for 28 and 38 years respectively, found a venue at their neighborhood clubhouse for monthly dinners that double as evening fundraisers.
The Dining for Women concept is akin to a girls’ night out, with a mission. Members are encouraged to bring a dish for “dining in” and invited to contribute their “dining out” dollars — the money they would have otherwise spent on a lunch or a night out — to the campaign. The money raised is pooled with that of more than 400 chapters nationwide to fund qualified programs that foster health, education, and economic self‐sufficiency among women living in extreme poverty.
With 9,800 members, the effort was ranked in 2012 by greatnonprofits.org as a top-rated nonprofit. The organization aims for charities that provide aid in impoverished nations and has reached cancer patients in El Salvador, victims of war in Afghanistan and girls victimized by sex trafficking in Southeast Asia.
“It’s like a learning experience because every month we reach two charities,” said Purkey-Huck. “Now that it’s grown so big our money doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. You always know there’s poverty in the world, but by helping all over the world you see changes being made.”
The Sedalia chapter is aiming for local growth and is gauging interest among its neighbors in Castle Rock. The chapter has contributed about $1,500 since its inception. The number might seem modest but, once pooled, has an impact, Purkey-Huck said.
“It is so exhilarating to me, it is so exciting,” she said. “Every month you feel like you’re making a difference. It’s so life-changing for these young women.”
The Dining for Women Sedalia chapter meets the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Indian Creek Clubhouse, 7149 W. Cherokee Drive, in the Indian Creek Subdivision in Sedalia. Each meeting includes a presentation about the charities reached that month, with a report provided by the national headquarters.
The chapter is hosting an informational meeting from 7-8:30 p.m., Feb. 13, in the Wells Fargo room of the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock. Refreshments will be provided. To RSVP or for more information about the local chapter, email Purkey-Huck at email@example.com or call 303-688-4983 or 303-688-9031.
For more information about the Dining for Women national outreach, visit www.diningforwomen.org.