The concept is simple: a jar in a bar to collect donations. The impact, however, is significant.
Women in Need -- an organization set up by two Fairfield women to help other Fairfield women -- will hold a "jar in a bar" night Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Horseshoe Café in Southport.
Marcy Haley, who cofounded Women in Need (WiN) in 2007 with friend Annie Clyne, said the two women had reached a point in their lives "when we realized a lot of people are going through a hard time."
Realizing they were "blessed to live in a community with women who want to help and contribute," Haley said she and Clyne came up with the concept of WiN to help women in need of financial assistance.
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These women have been handed tough situation -- a death in the family, the loss of a job, divorce, abuse -- and don't fall under the radar of social services, Haley said.
So WiN was established, as was its signature event, "jar in a bar."
Haley and Clyne receive referrals via email about a woman in need of help. Once a referral is vetted, they schedule a night for "jar in a bar" -- always at the Horseshoe Cafe -- and send out the invite.
The jar is set up and the suggested donation is $20, but sometimes people will thrown in $100, or $5. "We're grateful for whatever we get," Haley said.
You never know who is going to show up, Haley added. Anyone is welcome to come hang out at the Horseshoe and help out a woman in need.
People at "jar in a bar" don't know whom the donations are going to, Haley said. The woman who will receive the money doesn't know, either. Sometimes women who have been helped by a past "jar in a bar" come back and donate.
"The beauty in it is that it's very simple," Haley said. "There are no big fundraising events -- just a night at the bar."
After the event, all of the money raised is dropped off at the woman's house, with a letter of support from WiN The fundraiser, held three to four times a year, averages a roughly $1,200 donation to each woman helped.
"It isn't enough to change the situation [the woman is in]," Haley said. But women who have been helped by Women in Need have said it gives them support and hope.
"It can help pay for the groceries, pay that month's bills," Haley added.
In the five years since its inception, WiN has raised over $35,000 and more than 15 women. The need is always there, Haley said, as their inbox continues to fill with referrals.
Members of the community who know a woman in need who could benefit from a "jar in a bar" fundraiser should contact Women in Need at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested can also join the WiN mailing list by contacting Haley and Clyne through that email.