Women are often seen as the glue of a family. They plan the meals, schedule the doctor appointments, read the bedtime stories, balance the checkbook and do everything in their power to keep all the balls they are juggling in the air no matter how much is thrown their way.
We greatly appreciate the amazing men in our lives, but there is something special about a group of women coming together with a shared purpose. Women United, an affinity group of United Way, is part of a global network of more than 75,000 women in 165 communities across six countries, all dedicated to improving lives and creating stronger communities. Women United donors invest their time and talent in our community’s critical issues. We believe in the collective power of women and empowering each other to accomplish more together.
Annually we gather to celebrate the impact we have had over the past year, and honor two women from the community. This year on Feb. 4 we will be honoring a Woman of Courage and a Woman of Distinction at the 5th Annual Women United Luncheon. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Carmelo’s, 321 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda. Bayfront Health Port Charlotte and Bayfront Health Punta Gorda CEO Tara McCoy will be our keynote speaker.
Tickets are $45, $65 for VIP, and can be purchased by calling 941-627-3539 or by going online to www.unitedwayccfl.org/5th-annual-women-united-lunch. The event is open to anyone who would like to join us in celebrating the great things happening in Charlotte County through Women United. This will be a safe and socially distanced event, so tickets are limited.
I am often asked, “What exactly is Women United? What do they do?” Women United is simply a group of women who want to share their knowledge, connections, and resources for exponential impact in their community. We get together to work on community projects. We get together to share a meal and a laugh. And we get together to keep each other in tune with the needs we each see in the community.
Locally, our Women United leaders committed themselves, beginning in 2020, to the platform: Empowering Mothers to Raise Healthy Children. These women chose to take the life lessons they have gleaned over the years and share their collective wisdom with new mothers who are struggling. These mothers are members of the Circle of Parents peer support group, part of the United Way of Charlotte County funded collaborative Kids Thrive.
When COVID-19 hit, United Way of Charlotte County saw our Circle of Parents families struggling more than ever and put the call out to Women United. Members donated diapers, baby wipes, and other household goods for these moms and their children. They also were the women who collected face masks for Charlotte County Public School students and delivered these to the individual schools for distribution, knowing the safety of all Charlotte County children should be top priority.
Knowing how important family meals are for encouraging bonding and building memories, our Women United group collaborated on a cookbook of their favorite family recipes dedicated to our Kids Thrive mothers. These cookbooks will be available for sale at the Feb. 4 luncheon and online at www.unitedwayccfl.org. We also took to Zoom to answer some questions the Circle of Parents moms had about healthy eating, meal planning, staying fit, and just how to juggle it all (which is truly the million-dollar question that all women wrestle with).
We are grateful to Patrice Weston, State Farm for coordinating this year’s luncheon and sponsoring swag bags for each attendee. Other sponsors include JoAnn Tompkins, Centerpiece Sponsor; Charlotte State Bank & Trust, Dessert Sponsor; and Caryn Huff-Sufferling of Wharton-Smith, Inc., Keynote Speaker Sponsor.
If you are interested in sharing a meal with these dedicated women, don’t wait to purchase your ticket for the 5th Annual Women United Luncheon. Not only are family bonds strengthened over a shared meal, but so are friendships. We invite you to join us at the table on Feb. 4 to see women celebrated, women supported, and Women United.
For more information on Women United, how to join, or how to be a sponsor, please visit www.unitedwayccfl.org/women-united or call the United Way of Charlotte County at 941-627-3539. Angie Matthiessen is the executive director of United Way of Charlotte County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.