Women building momentumAn effort to involve more women in Habitat for Humanity this summer will kick off March 10 with a unique event appropriately titled “Power of the Purse.”
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
An effort to involve more women in Habitat for Humanity this summer will kick off March 10 with a unique event appropriately titled “Power of the Purse.”
The 2013 Women Build kickoff will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical. It’s free — although there will be opportunities to contribute to Habitat — and open to everyone.
The idea for “Power of the Purse” came from Linda Thielbar, a member of the Women Build steering committee, and Maureen Nelson of the local United Way.
They wanted a kickoff event that would be fun and fitting, Thielbar said. “This is the perfect time for it. This is about harnessing the power of women in our community, both financially and building-wise.”
The group even came up with an eye-catching logo — an image of a powerful woman they named Betty the Builder, reminiscent of the World War II icon Rosie the Riveter.
Women influence finances at home, Thielbar said, and they are a growing force in the community as well.
“We hope women who come to ‘Power of the Purse’ will use their pocketbooks to help build this house.”
The event isn’t just about donating money, Thielbar added. It’s also about community awareness and involvement.
In February a meeting was held to bring women together and create teams of volunteers to work on the Women Build project. Groundbreaking will be in late April at 621 Jefferson St.
“We’ve got about 20 teams,” of 12 to 20 women each, she said. Teams are charged with working on the house, raising at least $750 and having a good time.
Team leaders are still recruiting helpers.
“There will be an opportunity at ‘Power of the Purse’ to connect with it if you want to volunteer,” Thielbar said. Habitat for Humanity also will have plenty of information about the upcoming project.
Several fun activities are planned as well, including a display on the history of the purse/handbag, put together by the Goodhue County Historical Society, and an auction of one-of-a-kind “art purses” created specifically for the event.
The purse auction, which will be at 2 p.m., was spearheaded by Nelson. She contacted local women artists and invited them to make purses or bags, using canvas totes or starting from scratch. Some Red Wing High School art students and Southeast Tech Student Senate members also are creating bags.
Dan Wiemer will be auctioneer for the oral auction; Kim Wiemer will be emcee.
A silent auction, which will run from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m., is being organized by the American Association of University Women of Red Wing. That will include handbags, baskets of items donated by local residents and several items from Treasure Island Resort & Casino.
In addition, the vendors who plan to set up tables at the event are contributing to the silent auction, according to Terri Cook, a Norwex representative.
“The vendors are all women-owned businesses,” Cook said. “It’ll be a packed show” with about 20 vendors selling “woman-to-woman” items ranging from her nontoxic cleaning products to jewelry, skin care products and chocolate.
In addition, a Tomboy Tools representative will demonstrate the company’s ergonomic tools and donate 25 percent of sales made in conjunction with “Power of the Purse” to the Women Build.
Refreshments will be provided by young women of the community, Thielbar said. Girls on the Run members will sell beverages, and Girl Scout troops will sell cookies.
Getting young women involved accomplished a goal of the committee, she said. “We want them to be excited about this project. This is a great way for them to see what women in the community are involved in.”
Organizers hope that seeing women working on the Jefferson Street house will make an impression.
“Hopefully,” said Shannon Sullivan-Hanson, a financial aid assistant at the tech college, “it will influence them to carry it on as they get older.”
Southeast Tech is an active partner in several ways beyond providing a space for the event and organizing a team for the Women Build.
“The school is trying to get students involved in the community” and in service projects, she said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to show the students that we practice what we preach.”
At the purse event, students and staff will launch “Power of the Penny,” which will continue at the school throughout the Women Build. They’ll gather donations of pennies, plus other coins and bills as well. People with jars of loose change to donate can bring them to “Power of the Purse.”
The Winona campus did a similar project in support of a Winona Habitat house and raised several thousand dollars, Sullivan-Hanson said. The goal here is $3,000.
Throughout the afternoon there will be games and prizes. “If you’ve got a purse, you’re in the game,” according to the committee.
Although “Power of the Purse” targets women, the committee also invites men to help raise money for the Habitat project. Like the title “Women Build,” it simply aims to expand support.
As Habitat board member Dee Bender explained, “It’s not about excluding men; it’s about including more women.”
If you go …
@brief/summary text: What: “Power of the Purse”
When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday March 10
Schedule: Silent auction 1:30-2:45 p.m.; art purse auction 2 p.m.
Where: Southeast Tech, Pioneer Road at Highway 58
If I had a hammer …
Tomboy Tools is helping to raise funds for the 2013 Habitat for Humanity Women Build by donating a portion of some sales to the project.
The company set up a special computer link to its catalog. It will donate 25 percent of any orders placed through that link to the Habitat project. Orders may be placed until 4 p.m. March 10, the day of the fundraiser. Items will be shipped directly to the local Habitat chapter.
According to “Power of the Purse” committee member Terri Cook,
Tomboy Tools is a party plan company that offers ergonomic tools and home repair products designed for women.
“The products and tools fit our hands and match our upper body strength better than those designed for men,” she said. “I have many of their tools and give them as gifts to my nieces.”
To check out the catalog and place an order, go online to http://www.tomboytools.info/maryannbrown/rsvp&calendarid=142432&E=1