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'Dining for Women' chapter has successful debut

Socialization while raising social consciousness?

That is just what "Dining for Women" is setting out to do.

The nation-wide organization began in 2003 with Marsha Wallace of Greenville, S.C. She organized a potluck for friends and asked them to donate the money they would have paid for a restaurant meal to go towards international programs. Since then, the organization has explanded to 160 chapters in the U.S. and three other countries.

Bea Evans, of New Richmond, was taken by this idea and decided to start a local chapter.

"I read about Giving Circle, a way for a group of people to come together for the purpose of learning about a cause and then pooling their resources to support a need," said Evans. "Dining for Women provided a model to do just that."

Each month, Dining for Women provides extensive information about the featured organization, such as a DVD, fact sheet about the country, suggested reading materials and discussion questions. Members are asked to bring a potluck item, or a dish from the country being discussed.

January's program was Matrichaya in India, a group promoting women's literacy. February's program is Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer in El Salvador. Dining for Women researches each organization before designating funding from its chapters.

About eight people attended the first meeting of the New Richmond Area Dining for Women chapter on Thursday, Jan. 27. Those attending donated funds which will be combined with those of other chapters to support Matrichaya.

Evans said that she was encouraged by the turnout and looks forward to the group growing.

"I'm excited about sharing this vision with others and look forward to the sense of community that is sure to develop," she said.

The group will meet on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6-8 p.m. The February meeting is scheduled for the Feb. 24. For more information and meeting locations, contact Evans at 715-246-9353.