On Saturday, December 5th, The Women of Seven Lakes rallied together to host a drive-through Christmas event: Women of Seven Lakes Drive-By Drop Off Christmas Collection. The event, which lasted from 9:00AM to 11:00AM, received hundreds of donations and seemingly endless support from the community.
In only two hours, The Women of Seven Lakes had collected a total of 860 pounds of food, monetary donations totaling $3,700, and an entire car full of items including paper products, cleaning and sanitizing products, socks, robes, and toiletries.
“The best part of the event was the overwhelming support from our members and the community,” said Board President Gayle van Dijk. “People didn’t just drop off an extra can or two from their pantry. They actually went shopping and dropped off bags of groceries.”
The Women of Seven Lakes made sure to distribute the donations across several local organizations. The amounts to each agency varied as some donors specified which agency they wanted to receive their funds.
The West End United Food Pantry received the food and a check for $1,800. Friend to Friend received the paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, personal care items, and $450. Tambra Place will receive $1,000 and the Chapel in the Pines $350.
For the past several years, The Women of Seven Lakes has hosted a Pancake Breakfast on the first Saturday in December. Through their programs, the Pancake Breakfast, and basket donations, The Women of Seven Lakes contributed a total of $1,900 to deserving local agencies last year.
In spite of the many cancellations due to COVID-19 this year, the ladies were determined to continue their community outreach. The Women of Seven Lakes Drive-By Drop Off Christmas Collection allowed donors to participate safely while still instilling the giving spirit of the holidays.
“We were so pleased that the event was so successful,” said Gayle. “We were so happy that the people of Seven Lakes pulled together to help others in this way. The results of our Christmas Collection far exceeded our expectations.”
The holiday drive-by is far from the extent of the ladies’ community work, however. The Women of Seven Lakes has additionally spent the past several months finding safe, socially distanced ways to meet, clean up the community, and give back.
“In September we did a Food Drive, in October we cleaned up Love Grove Church Road, and in November we visited the Town Creek Indian Mound,” said Gayle van Dijk.
Gayle gives a special thanks to the board members who were instrumental in the organization of the Christmas Collection, including Vice President Donna Christianson, Secretary Val Doolittle, Treasurer Fran Gialanella, Communication: Carmen Frotton, and Membership: Gabriella Collen.
Finally, The Women of Seven Lakes thank Pastor Paul James of the Chapel in the Pines for not only spreading the word about the event, but for allowing the event to be hosted in the chapel’s parking lot. The ladies were blown away by his generosity and act of good will.
“All are welcome to our organization, and its meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month, though no meetings are held in June through August,” invites Gayle van Dijk. “The Women of Seven Lakes has been engaged in local charitable work, fundraisers, and community outreach for over thirty years.”