The Women United Flagler Chapter named member Lori Gold Woman of the Year for 2022. Gold received the award at the organization’s 14th Annual Flagler Power of the Purse VIP Preview event on Aug. 29 at Elite Dance and Travel in Palm Coast.
As part of her prize, Gold receives $500 to be donated to the charities of her choice. Gold selected the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Feed Flagler, through the Flagler County school district, to receive $250 each. The Dolly parton library provides books to younger children in need. Feed Flagler was established over a decade ago to provide meals for residents at Thanksgiving and in spring.
Women United Flagler was launched in 2009 by a group of local women concerned with the welfare of women and children in need in Flagler County. The group’s mission is to create positive, measurable, long-term change in the lives of women and children by focusing on root causes and pooling resources to increase impact. They are most well known in the community for their ‘Chicks with Cans’ program initiative, which is estimated to have collected approximately 60,000 lbs. (30 tons) of food since its inception.
“Lori has been an enthusiastic and involved volunteer and member since 2015,” said Women United Flagler Co-President Diane Wasney. “We were so pleased to have the opportunity to honor her in this way.”
“I am humbled and honored to have received this recognition and strive to make a positive impact in our community,” Gold said. She was also a United Way Campaign representative and Old Kings Elementary teacher prior to her involvement with Women United Flagler.
Candidates for Woman of the Year must be an active member and are evaluated on the following criteria: Number of volunteer hours logged at events, number of volunteer hours logged towards non-Women United Flagler events, participation on or chairing a committee, participation at board meetings, attendance at events, advocacy on behalf of Women United Flagler and participation in the Speakers Bureau.
This year’s Power of the Purse event grossed over $14,000 through the sale of auction items, sponsorships, and VIP ticket sales. The 2021 Power of the Purse raised $13,176, bringing the total raised by the organization over the past 12 years to $135,587.
Beyond the Power of the Purse, Women United Flagler is best known for Chicks with Cans, its signature food-raising project. Members volunteer outside Publix stores, collecting monetary donations for Feed Flagler in the spring and fall. All donations received stay in Flagler County to help those that are food insecure. Since 2012, Chicks with Cans has collected monetary donations totaling $75,781.
In 2021, the group distributed $16,150 in food and grants to local agencies, such as The Flagler Education Foundation, Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Teens-In-Flight, Family Life Center, Christmas Come True, Stewart Marchman WARM, Abundant Life Ministries, Food Brings Hope, WaterSafe, and more. In addition, each year the group provides high school scholarships at both Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas High Schools. Since inception in 2009, Women United Flagler has raised and given back over $287,000 to the Flagler County community.
Anyone who would like to get involved with Women United Flagler can do so by liking and following the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FlaglerCountyWomenUnited/, donate when you see the Chicks with Cans volunteers in front of the Flagler County Publix stores in May and October and donate monetarily and/or volunteer as a ‘Chick’, join as a member of Women United Flagler for $50 annually, or become involved and serve on a committee (social, fund allocation, community engagement, or marketing and PR).
The 2022 Women United Flagler board members include: Haylie Allegra, Joanne Tavzel, Cindy Dalecki, Diane Wasney, Linda Mahran, and Lori Gold.