Women's group meets to help community

There are many people out there with a heart to give and who aren’t really sure how to do it best. For those there is Lunch with A Purpose, an informal gathering of women who meet every month for lunch and giving back. And 100 percent of money raised stays in Sussex County.

Cheryl Mitchell said that Lunch with a Purpose started about three years ago with 12 women, and now boasts 350 people on her e-mail distribution list. “Every month we have about 100 women who come to local restaurants or country clubs to benefit a local charity that doesn’t get a voice anywhere else.” She said they started out raising about $150 per lunch and now raise as much as $1,000.

The women all purchase lunch and then raise funds via auctions and raffles and give 100 percent of the money to the charity of the month. They have raised money for Operation Warm, to buy coats for children, Just Soup, a ministry in Lewes, the Lower Sussex Autism Foundation, The Wellness Community, an art outreach program through the Rehoboth Art Leaugue, Cindy’s Place, a women and children’s domestic abuse shelter in Seaford, and First State Community Action Agency out of Georgetown.

They have also sponsored “Shoes That Fit,” that has a Delaware chapter. Shoes That Fit is a national program that purchases shoes and other items for elementary school children in need so they can concentrate on their studies “rather than their circumstances,” as their Web site states.

Mitchell said they had raised money for this particular charity a few times and have “adopted” Frankford Elementary and have helped in the past by raising funds at their luncheons to replenish their “closet.” Frankford Elementary is consistently rated a “Superior” School through the Delaware Department of Education, was a National Blue Ribbon School in 2004 and a “Dispelling the Myth” Award winner in 2005, despite the fact that 83 percent of students are classified as low-income.

Of Lunch with A Purpose, Mitchell states that it is “grass roots,” and all of their money is raised and stays in Sussex County. They always have a speaker that comes and educates the members on the particlaur charity and it gives many women who are looking for somewhere to give back a chance to do so. Their next project includes helping teenagers that might not otherwise get a chance to do so, to look at colleges.

“A lot of people really do want to help, they are just not sure where to channel it,” she said.

To learn more about Lunch with a Purpose, e-mail Mitchell at cherylmitchell13@gmail.com.