The past week has been a bit crazy around here. I'm a member of Soroptimists. That's an international non-profit service organization, with a membership of professional women, dedicated to improving the lives of women and children, locally and around the world. My local club chartered more than 50 years ago. There might even be a Soroptimists Club in your town. I love being a member. My club is a wonderful source of female camaraderie, both for just having fun and in working together to help our community.
Here in Carson City, we provide thousands of dollars in scholarships annually to local high school girls, and to women heads-of-household working towards a degree. That money is pretty much covered by endowment funds willed to us from past members. But we also have other programs we sponsor, as well as giving to charitable organizations here in town. That means fundraising, in an economy where money is getting tighter and the need getting greater.
Our biggest Program is helping uninsured women get breast cancer early-detection screenings. In the five years we've run this program, we've paid for over 800 mammograms and ultrasounds, plus 11 biopsies. We hold an annual golf tournament fundraiser for that, usually in early October (nasty weather this year meant less for that program too). We run the Backpack Attack - filling new back-to-school backpacks with school and hygiene supplies for children in need. That program is donation-funded, and lots of volunteer hours by club members. Our Easter Shoe Program, the Legal Fund for domestic violence victims, putting together little surprises for the house-bound Meals on Wheels recipients, and more - it makes me feel good to be a part of all that we do.
But there is still so much need here, so we needed to come up with more fundraising ideas (keeping in mind that many of our members are working full-time, raising their families, and still devoting time and effort to the club). I came up with selling sleeve garters during the Nevada Day celebration the end of October. They'd fit right in - they're old-west oriented, would appeal to both men and women, and would be a reasonably priced ($5) souvenir. The Parade theme this year was Hollywood in Nevada, so we thought silver with black lace would be a good fit. I was in charge of putting it all together - finding a source for the garters, getting the necessary vendor permits, doing early publicity releases, pre-sale distribution, and lining up the club members to get out there and sell them. Unfortunately, the weather Nevada Day was cold, rainy, windy, and quite miserable. That meant less crowds out and about, and our sales were way below projections (and the economy worsening by the minute didn't help either).
I still think this can be a really great part of future Nevada Day celebrations, changing colors to fit the theme each year. I envision all the Sheriff's Deputies, parade officials, local dignitaries, and bystanders sporting a garter on Nevada Day in a visible show of support for what the Soroptimists do in this town. But right now, I'm a bit downhearted - we ended up losing money on this, and I feel responsible.