Over the last five years, the Young Women's League of Reading has donated over $50,000 to the Reading community. The league's largest fundraising event, the annual winter dinner dance, will be held in February.
According to President Jodi Cirrone, the league started in 1950. When the group was founded there were 25 members, and they continue to keep that amount of women in the league every year.
Why 25? When they first started the league, they met in member's homes. The organizers at that time wanted to keep the group small enough to meet in homes, but large enough to get their fundraising done. To this day, the group still honors those traditions.
"It's just a wonderful group of ladies who really put forth their best effort to help the social needs within our community. They donate their time and their effort all year long to give back to the wonderful things that we have within our resources in the community," Cirrone said.
The women meet monthly to organize their social and fundraising events. At the end of every year, they determine where the money they raised will go. They donate to places like the Reading Public Library, police and fire departments, Mission of Deeds, Creative Arts, EMARC, the Reading Scholarship Fund and their own scholarship, the Sally Merchant Scholarship, that was created in honor of a former member.
Every year they "look at the social needs in our community" and each member suggests where they think the money should go, with the exception of their Beaker Fund. The Beaker Fund is separate from their general fundraising and all of the money for the fund is raised through their private movie showing and electronics recycling event. That money goes toward science equipment for the elementary schools in town. Last year they raised $6700 for that specific fund.
Their biggest general fundraising event is the Winter Dinner Dance, which features dinner, a cash raffle and silent auction. Last year, .
Even if you don't attend the dance, you can buy a ticket for the cash raffle. Tickets are $10 and there will be three $500 cash prizes given. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, contact LaJuana Ravens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The silent auction features items donated by local businesses. The businesses donate large and small ticket items, the smallest being a $25 gift card, which the league places in balloons and sells for $20 each. So attendants buy a balloon and always get something worth more than $20, whether it be a $25 gift card or something of greater value.
They hold the dance the night before the Superbowl every year so they also sell football squares.
This year, the dance will be held on Feb. 2 at the Hillview Country Club from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. Tickets for the event cost $100 per couple, and that includes dinner. Email Stefanie Walsh at email@example.com to purchase a ticket.