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Summer News from the Cape and Islands United Way

Hey volunteers, meet us at the beach!

Craigville Beach Association - a perfect spot for our volunteer celebration on August 13th!

The Cape and Islands United Way will host its annual volunteer appreciation party at the beach this year! Join us as we say thank you to the countless volunteers who work with us throughout the year and help make our United Way more impactful and engaged in our communities.

This year’s event is Tuesday, August 13th from 5-7 p.m. at Craigville Beach Association, the private beach just to the left of Craigville Beach in Centerville. Come enjoy some great food catered Roy and Nancy at CBA, along with some ice cream cones and frappes. Beer and wine will be served. And a huge thank you to First Citizens, who is generously helping to sponsor this event!

Without these volunteers, the Cape and Islands United Way could not do what is does. We are so grateful and encourage all of our volunteers to join us at the beach party on the 13th. Come in shorts, flip flops... or your bathing suit! There are changing rooms and rest rooms available.

Best Night shines bright

"It’s magical” is how one person described this year’s annual Best Night of the Year gala hosted by the Cape and Islands United Way on June 30 at Willowbend in Mashpee.

The evening featured fellowship, fundraising and a bit of fun thrown in. Our garden party theme was a huge hit –  with attendees who were incredibly generous in their support of our mission and partnerships in the community. This year’s event was one of the most successful in the 21-year history of Best Night – raising about $220,000, with proceeds going to support the annual Community Impact grants.

A special thank you to all of our sponsors, supporters and donors for making this such a memorable event. Click here to see more photos from our event, and mark your calendars for our next Best Night on June 28, 2020. Details to follow.

Make a statement at Power of the Purse

A woman’s handbag can make a big impact. It can be a style statement, a practical tote for life’s necessities, a proud symbol of success, a catchall so she is always prepared.

At Power of the Purse, the purse is a metaphor for strength.

Join the incredible women who will come together to encourage, enlighten and engage women, children and families in our community for the second annual Power of the Purse. This social and fundraising event is September 25th at the Hyannisport Club – hosted by Women United, an affinity group of the Cape and Islands United Way.

We invite you to join the fun and entertainment by bidding on some very special purses, bags, and accessories. Click here to learn more and to purchase tickets.

Bilezikian recognized for her contributions

We are delighted to announce that Doreen Bilezikian will be recognized at the Power of the Purse as honorary chair. This annual event will now recognize a woman of influence and impact in our community in this way. Women United co-chairs Chris Eosco and Pam Cundall noted:

As a business women, wife, mother, grandmother, and philanthropist, Doreen embodies everything Women United stands for.

Doreen, who with her late husband Chuck, founded the Christmas Tree Shops in 1970, a brand that grew to 23 retail locations by 2003, the year the Bilezikian family sold the chain to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Soon after that sale, Doreen and Chuck – who had been very active in civic and philanthropic endeavors on the Cape, created the Bilezikian Family Foundation to pursue philanthropic efforts. We are delighted to recognize and honor Doreen’s invaluable contributions on so many levels.

Meet our VISTA: Emily Simons

Emily, originally from Pennsylvania, joined the Cape and Islands United Way as an Americorps VISTA last all. She builds organizational capacity and impact by documenting local needs, researching potential solutions, and creating the infrastructure to measure and report outcomes. Emily is a graduate from Chatham University with a BA in Policy Studies. 

Looking back on her 10 months, Emily reflected:

“I could not have expected the immense personal and professional growth I experienced through my work at Cape and Islands United Way. After graduating from college in Pittsburgh, I wanted to use my political science and economics background to serve a community through AmeriCorps. Suddenly I was living in a place I had never even visited, building new relationships every day, and becoming deeply invested in community needs. Joining the Cape and Islands United Way team gave me a new understanding of how nonprofits work to alleviate poverty and how my skills fit into this work.” 

“Through my time here, I know the Cape and Islands’ unique characteristics make the work of United Way increasingly important for all residents. I take pride in knowing that through my community needs analysis, United Way will be able to serve the community more efficiently and effectively. Our wide viewpoint and knowledge of the community allows us to work on the root of complex issues, such as affordable housing or healthy aging supports. While my service term ends here, I will never forget my time on Cape Cod and the dedicated team at United Way who tirelessly works to improve life for all residents of the Cape and Islands.”

Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: Food4Kids

Just as some of us are readying ourselves for trips to the beach, the Food4Kids program has completed training its nearly 100 volunteers who will prepare and deliver daily breakfasts, lunches and snacks to locations all over the Lower and Outer Cape. 

Thanks to the amazing volunteers and staff at Food4Kids, families in need living in the eight towns from Harwich to Provincetown can know for sure that their children can have access to healthy meals daily over the nine weeks of the summer. 

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans is partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture to sponsor this program. They serve free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks every day where children gather in each town--recreation programs sponsored by each town, childcare programs, and library programs. In 2018, Food4Kids served over 27,500 meals at 14 different sites.

While the program receives some federal funding, as much as 30 percent of the costs are not reimbursed. That’s where the grant from the Cape and Islands United Way comes in. During the summer weeks, Food 4 Kids serves about 500 children and teens.

On Cape Cod, nearly 40 percent of children are eligible for receive free or reduced lunch during the school year.  Yet, prior to Food4Kids, there was no organized way for those same children to receive meals during the summer. Food4Kids is a classic example of a local community identifying a need, coming together with year round and summer residents to make sure that need is met. 

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