WE'RE LOVING: "Helping Our Women" in Provincetown
At Salt Hotels we really love working with organizations that support the communities surrounding our properties. Today we are featuring Helping Our Women. A wonderful organization who's mission is to educate, empower, and support women coping with chronic disease and life threatening illnesses living in the Lower and Outer Cape towns of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown. We have supported Helping Our Women in several of their fantastic fundraising events. Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Elizabeth Gawron, the Executive Director of Helping Our Women and learn a little bit more about the services they provide.
1. Tell me a little bit about "Helping Our Women" and what you do?
HOW provides support to women living in Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, and Eastham who have serious health problems. HOW was started in 1992 when a few friends gathered to see how they could help a woman with a new cancer diagnosis. Over the years, HOW has served nearly 1000 women and the list of diagnoses has grown to include many cancers, chronic conditions and disabilities.
Our support include two core services: transportation to medically related appointments whether local or in Hyannis or Boston; and financial assistance to those with low incomes to cover a wide range of medical and household expenses. We also provide assistance in getting other services and benefits like fuel assistance, food stamps (now called SNAP), disability or social security benefits.
2. What is your role at Helping Our Women?
I am the Executive Director. As such, I manage the organization’s client services with the help of our one other employee, the Office Administrator/Client Advocate; I also help the Board of Directors in our many fundraising activities and promote our services with outreach through media, events and collaborating with other nonprofit organizations.
3. Do you have any favorite events or fund raisers that you throw?
The most fun event of the year is the Drag Brunch hosted by the Patio Restaurant. It’s held during Carnival each year and the guests all come in fabulous drag. The Patio handles all the logistics and has raised a lot on money for HOW through this event - $50,000 this year! The Patio has been doing this for HOW for at least the past ten years and it has a great following. There are two other events that HOW puts on: the annual Summer Garden Party and the end-of the-year Lobster Pot Dinner.
4. Is there anything new that you'd like to tell people about?
Two things to mention: First, the long time Office Administrator/Client Advocate, Donna Szeker, who did most of the direct interaction and support with our clients left HOW in September. Her replacement will be Cynthia Joy who will start on November 27. Cynthia has had a long career in human services with the YMCA organization in New Jersey. She has great direct service skills and compassion, as well as wonderful fundraising skills. Second, I have seen a growing need with the women HOW serves to reduce the social isolation that often accompanies serious health conditions. We will be adding a new part-time volunteer coordinator to increase our pool of volunteers and expand the support services to include more one-on-one interactions with volunteers and more opportunities to be with others.
5. How can people get involved and support you?
HOW is always looking for more volunteer drivers for our transportation services. Drivers are the key to getting our women to important medical appointments locally. Volunteers also can drive people to the grocery store, pharmacy, and other locations. HOW will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018. We would love to see the community get involved with this celebration. Stay tuned for announcements after the New Year. HOW also have committees like Development or Governance or Client Services that need help.
6. What would your perfect day in Provincetown be?
A perfect day for me is that glorious day in the spring when I’m walking down Commercial St with the sun shining and the town is coming back to life with shops opening, building being painted and the smell of the ocean is in the air.
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