One Chapter’s Take on 13th Month

This month, Merle Steiner, Co-Leader for the MD, Rockville-1 chapter shares what the 13th Month Campaign means to her chapter.

Our Rockville, MD Chapter is about to celebrate its 8th Anniversary. We are very proud to have been one of the early chapters joining the Dining for Women family. We have watched DFW grow from a group of creative, intelligent women working from their kitchen table to the amazing organization it has become.

Our chapter includes so many women who volunteer with or work for non-profit organizations, so we have a keen sense of need for the 13th Month Campaign. Our members’ experiences in the non-profit world have enabled them to see how important the office infrastructure is for the quality and effectiveness of the programs that non-profits create and/or support. These members understand that the unique strength of Dining for Women rests on its amazing business model but also the extraordinary efforts of a hard-working staff.

DFW can no longer work from that kitchen table. It is a now a nationally recognized, world-wide operation. To be consistent in its high level achievements and to continue its commitment of quality to its members, so much behind-the-scenes work is required. The staff works to: properly ensure the integrity and accountability of the process for the donations the thousands of members make each month; give essential support to the volunteers working on the research, photos, recipes, and information we receive on the charity; and develop the outreach programs to grow DFW’s effectiveness. All of this has resulted in the extraordinary success we have seen to date.

When you introduce a featured program of the month, talk about what it must take to find the deserving program, to research all the interesting material we received, and to put together substantive follow-up information as to what the contribution accomplished. It is important, throughout the year, to remind members how much effort went into bringing a featured program to their attention. Our members always ask lots of questions; wanting to be sure the program is worthy, responsible, and effective. We can usually answer because of the depth of information we receive from the home office. Some members ask for follow-up information and have even been known to contact DFW with questions.

Our members love each monthly meeting – the chance to see each other, the interesting foods that are brought, the chance to do good for the world, and, most important, the “socialization with substance” that the DFW model provides. That is the jewel and the joy of Dining for Women. It will only be able to continue to find and help these women and children in need with necessary resources to do all the behind-the-scenes work. That is why supporting the 13th Month Campaign is recognized by our chapter as an important and worthwhile responsibility.