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Only on Hilton Head: Women here care ... times 100

OK, Hilton Head Island women, you're on.

I mean really, if you ever wanted to learn all there is to know about this island, here's a way that won't infringe on any part of your busy lives. Seriously.

How about getting together with several (as in, about 40, or so) other women who want to make a difference in their community, but who DON'T have 13 extra hours a week to throw around willy-nilly, because they have full-time jobs, mouths to feed, PTA meetings, other important community volunteer tasks, steering committee meetings, and the annual pot-luck political fundraiser to organize, don'tcha know.

And those are just the commitments, island women pledge and fulfill with their whole hearts without blinking. That week-at-a-glance calendar list doesn't even include dental appointments, getting the car oil changed, having their hair "designed" (so the males of the humanoid species will notice, and maybe design their own hair), Zumba at the club, weekly therapy and getting the kids to soccer practice.

"Believe it or not, it's the power of an hour, that gets things done," says co-founder, Ann Tucker, a powerhouse example of Hilton Head womanhood, who fits neatly into a size 0 bundle of tanned blonde muscle and sinew, and knows how to produce a great cup of joe in a beautifully decorated, airy Sea Pines home, with a perfect little cocker spaniel -- Hattie Grace -- balanced on her lap.

Hattie Grace, by the way, was trying desperately to tell me over and over with sharp yips and yaps and piercing, molten black eyes, that I must join this group of smart, all-about-town women.

So, how do we give back to the island community we love so much? How do we contribute to the unseen, but so-necessary, nonprofits that benefit the people around all of us, supporting us, and our lifestyles?

Because they DO support us, and our rather turgid lifestyles. Neighborhood Outreach Community -- being one of those nonprofits that truly benefits the people who "turge" our lifestyles -- was the first recipient of Hilton Head's newest, most efficient and productive charitable, giving organization, 100 Women Who Care.

And what does that mean? Interested women who want to make a difference on Hilton Head, while also learning about their neighbors, history and local organizations, should fill out an application to join the club online, http://100wwchhi.org/onlineform.html. The next meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Dolphin Head Golf Club, 56 High Bluff Road, in Hilton Head Plantation. The group starts with wine, then discusses several worthwhile local nonprofits. They choose one by vote and then each woman writes a check for $100 and goes home.

Four months later, they meet again, do the same thing, and, in the interim, they get reports and updates from the previous recipient organization describing what they did with the donated funds, so the gals get an idea about how the money is benefiting the cause, which always supports the community of Hilton Head, in some way.

So there. Simple enough? Call Ann Tucker, 843-671-9980, or Jackie Ryan, 843-785-5453, co-founders of the Hilton Head chapter of 100 Women Who Care, if you want to join, or have any questions.

There are 275 chapters of 100 Women Who Care to date, including groups in Canada, Singapore, Mexico and the Cayman Islands. There is one in Beaufort, one in Bluffton, and now there is a chapter on Hilton Head that has 34 members. The notion that 100 women donating $100 each, four times a year is so simplistic and valuable, it's almost hard to believe.

Yet, it obviously works, being that it's a relatively new idea that has sprung up over the past nine years, reigning successful, and solid in every neighborhood in which it has formed. However, the Hilton Head branch needs more members, since currently, their first meeting in June yielded $3,400 for NOC.

And, while that's a great number, think about what $10,000 can do, for four different, local organizations, four times a year.

Interested? I hope to see you at the next meeting.

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