Kent County’s Gals That Give keep charity local

The participants in Gals That Give fundraisers always make sure to have a fun time while helping a worthy cause. (Submitted photo)

The participants in Gals That Give fundraisers always make sure to have a fun time while helping a worthy cause. (Submitted photo)

DOVER ­— There’s a group of women from all around Kent County who go all out when it comes to hosting a dinner once a month for around 200 or so of their friends.

It’s not just about tasty food, relaxed conversation and a fun time for Gals That Give, it’s really about giving back to local charitable organizations — one month, one plate and one donation at a time.

The Gals That Give will be back at it when the nonprofit organization hosts a #dogood Benefit for The Arc of Delaware on Sept. 15, from 5:30 until 8 p.m., at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

A $25 ticket ($35 ticket with a bottle of wine) includes a “pick a prize”-style auction, 50/50 drawing, a cash bar and a three-course buffet dinner, including appetizers and a dessert.

Catrina Jefferson, one of the co-founders of Gals That Give, said the group likes to connect with a Kent County-based charity and prefers to raise money for charities that often go unnoticed in the community.

She said The Arc of Delaware was a natural fit.

“We like to choose charities that don’t have a lot of exposure and a lot of awareness,” Ms. Jefferson said. “The Arc of Delaware is one of those groups that do so much for the Kent County community that people do not know about.

“They have a dance nearly every month for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and that’s a really good thing. The cool thing is being able to see people at our dinners who are usually behind the scenes working tirelessly to help others and doing something bigger than themselves.”

The Arc of Delaware promotes and protects the civil rights of the estimated 27,000 Delawareans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It also provides an array of services in areas of housing, employment, community outreach and recreation in supporting self-advocacy.

Each month the ARC of Delaware holds a recreation event in Kent County to improve and enhance the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

“We have nine dances, two movie nights and one picnic annually,” said Pat Heather, a member of the ARC Board and the Century Club. “Our Dover Century Club is dedicated to community improvement through volunteerism and they have helped sponsor a dance for the ARC for more than 20 years.

“Without the generosity of local civic organizations over these years, our ARC population would not have these much-needed monthly social events.”

Gals That Give is led by co-founders Stephanie Preece (George & Lynch), Kim Willson (Ruggerio Willson & Associates), Ms. Jefferson (True North Marketing) and Christina Lessard (Lessard Builders).

They formed the charity in 2013 and since then have raised more than $140,000 for charities, all of which stays in the local community.

When Gals That Give hosted its first dinner in the fall of 2013 around 80 women showed up. Now, their dinners routinely attract crowds from 170 to 240 women.

GALS THAT GIVE NIGHT OUT WHAT: Benefit for The Arc of Delaware WHEN: Sept. 15, 5:30 until 8 p.m. WHERE: Dover Downs Hotel & Casino TICKETS: $25, $35 with bottle of wine included. Available at Eventbrite,com A limited number of tickets will be available at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis for $35

GALS THAT GIVE NIGHT OUT
WHAT: Benefit for The Arc of Delaware
WHEN: Sept. 15, 5:30 until 8 p.m.
WHERE: Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
TICKETS: $25, $35 with bottle of wine included. Available at Eventbrite,com
A limited number of tickets will be available at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis for $35

“These events are a lot of fun,” Ms. Jefferson said. “It can be a networking event, but it’s not your typical networking event. We don’t have assigned seats and encourage our guests to talk to people they’ve never met.

“We always hear some great stories from the charities and they really resonate with a lot of the women and we definitely have a lot of fun.”

Linda Deaton, of Dover, has attended at least 10 Gals That Give events in the past with friends.

“They’re an awesome group of ladies,” Mrs. Deaton said. “The young women who created ‘Gals That Give’ have a true passion for giving back to the local community and keeping it local.

“It is a fantastic event to go out with a group of girls for food and wine … and the opportunity to give back.”

One of the most popular parts of the Girls That Give dinners is the “pick a prize”-style auction.

Auction items for The Arc of Delaware benefit include baskets from Bel Boutique, Kaizen Karate Academy, Bayard Pharmacy, Frankfurt Bakery, Crossfit Dover and Crossfit 1806, Uncorked Canvas Parties, Bow Wow Petique, The Kritter Sitter, WMG Advisors, Del One Federal Credit Union, Painted Stave Distillery, Dover Federal Credit Union and more.

Ms. Jefferson said auction items will be accepted until Sept. 9.

Gals That Give will also host dinners for Moving for Melanoma (Oct. 20) and the Biggs Museum of American Art (Nov. 17) this year.

One thing is for certain, these dinners never get old for the Gals That Give.

“Each charity has brought a new group of women to the table and it seems like our core group of ladies just keeps growing and growing,” Ms. Jefferson said. “In a room of about 150 ladies, about 60 percent return from previous months and about 40 percent are joining us for the first time.

“Our $25 ticket allows anybody from any price range to attend. If you go to a Walgreens or a Target you might give back to a charity but it usually doesn’t go back into the local community. Our dinners are a testament to the community that we live in.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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