Rain is our good luck charm - first at B & B, now at the Holiday Luncheon

JoAnn Slezak, 2010 B & B co-chair,
was visiting from her new South Carolina home and
surprised everyone by attending the luncheon.
Here she is with Heather Laughman, a busy mom
who balances kids' activites, ALCW secretarial duties
and co-chairmanship of Operation New Start.

Nancy Newell is our "sunshine lady", the one who
so graciously sends out cards on special occasion. She
is looking forward to her son's New Year's Eve wedding.
Thanks to VP membership Trish Reider
 for all she does, from welcoming new members to
planning today's delicious  luncheon menu from
Taste of Home.

Close to half our membership came out in the pouring rain for the annual holiday luncheon with armfuls of Secret Santa presents for our Canticle Place friends. The luncheon was at Meg Cooper's warm and beautiful home, which was decked out for Christmas, just days after Meg returned from a family trip abroad.

After a hectic autumn of coats fittings,
kitchen and backpack deliveries, reading in schools and the massive undertaking that is Books & Brunch, members relaxed and kibitzed with friends. Doesn't everyone look well-rested and fabulous!

The captions are by no means a full biography of any member's ALCW involvement, but just
some "off the top of my head" recollections. We missed and value those members who weren't at the luncheon and know your involvement is just as important as those mentioned here.

As I took photos and gazed around the room at all the wonderful women present and those absent but in our thoughts, I felt honored to be a part of such a group that truly cares for the less fortunate and generously gives their time to help. Writing a check is easy compared to the countless hours it takes to personally fit one child at a time into a coat and make each one feel valued with a special word or two. We may never know the difference we truly make in a child's life beyond the material things we provide in winter wear, books or kitchen essentials.  These things could be the impetus to higher learning or what it takes to keep them out of a shelter and on to a better life.
So as we ring in 2012, wherever we may be, let's raise a glass to ALCW and the beginning of a new year. -- Marianne Cortopassi
Three ladies who are active in every aspect of Assistance
League - Becky Moats, Phyllis Young and Linda Legner.
Becky is always ready to lend a helping hand with a
big smile and kind words.
Phyllis, Operation Early Reading co-chair,
is the 2011 Ada Edwards Laughman Award recipient,
coined ADA for the rest of this blog entry.
Linda, our professional writer, B & B author liaison,
Operation School Bell co-chair and 2009 ADA,
lives next door to hostess Meg Cooper and
remembers welcoming Meg to her back door while
still knee deep in boxes. What a friendship that has become! 

Caught long time friends Laurie Cleary and Pat Mrozek
catching up on their children's lives.
 Laurie, VP Donor Development, was the 2010
B & B co-chair and continues to be an integral part
of the fundraiser.  Pat's vibrant personality makes
her a great B & B raffle ticket sales person and
ALCW volunteer.  

Many people tried to take my camera, but only one
succeeded so here I am (Marianne Cortopassi)
with Diane Kurtz and Mary Parsons.
Diane is a newer member who has jumped right in
(to everything).  Mary is co-chairing Operation
New Start with Heather and getting involved with
local food pantries and our collaborators. She is
always our best membership ambassador,
encouraging her many friends to join ALCW.

Trish Reider with Joanna Williams, our immediate past
 treasurer who gladly pitches in to help Ricki Lessig
when needed.  Dee Dugo, a former B & B chair,
is using her business savvy to upgrade our image
with everything from magnetic name
badges to ALCW  bags for B & B attendees.

Carla Feinkind is chatting with Ly Hotchkin,
an ALCW supporter and friend to many. Ly is former
director of The Hinsdale Community House and well
respected in the community. Carla hardly skipped a
beat as ALCW president following a serious surgery.
She is a caring and dynamic leader who likes
shaking things up and bringing out the best
in everyone.

Ricki Lessig is our accounting whiz, very adept at
managing the financial end of ALCW, researching
new ideas and procedures and best of all, she
always answers email questions within minutes.
Ricki, 2008 ADA,
 is with Diane Mrozek (see more about Diane below)
and JoAnn Slezak                  

Past presidents Madelon Pearlman (2004-2006)
and Marguerite Spangehl (2008-2010) launched a
profitable eBay venture with Usha Swamy. These
ladies are always a good source of information and ideas.  

Kathy Motherway, a newer member has become an avid
volunteer and friend to all.  Marie Rossi travels alot but
always comes home to ALCW.  Last winter, she
recommended ALCW as the recipient of the Edgewood
Valley Country Club's holiday bazaar,  a simple act that
put $4,000 in our coffers and a nice holiday luncheon
for members who attended. Thanks, Marie!

Dee Dugo with Linda Gonnella, Operation School Bell
co-chair. Linda is a founding member of the Chicagoland
Chapter AND our signature Books & Brunch fundraiser.
Members rallied around Linda this fall when her
husband Lou "the miracle man", became
seriously ill - then recovered. 

Heather Laughman with Maureen Hegarty, one half of the
amazing and amazingly calm
Books & Brunch leadership team.
 "Mo the dynamo" in ability and personality has worn many
hats during her ALCW years and was the
VP Membership who welcomed me in.

I could write a book about these ladies.
Marie Raffl knows everyone in the western suburbs, from
shop owners to florists to friends - and uses her
persuasive skills for the good of ALCW.  She is our
immediate past secretary, 2007 ADA and
one of our most enthusiastic volunteers.
Meg Cooper, the other half of the B & B leadership team,
is current VP Event Fundraising,  a past president (2006-2008)
and most likely,
has held every board position at one time or another.
She is also a efficient graphic designer and website whiz.
I would be inclined to say, "Meg never sleeps", but after
sharing a room at the National Conference, I know she does.

An uninvited guest tried to crash the luncheon,
but munched on some parsley instead. 

Diane Mrozek with Maureen Hegarty.
Diane, a 2006 ADA and the current VP Philanthropy, knows
how to get things done.  Everyone was skeptical when
 she planned a raffle basket wrapping in her basement
a couple weeks before B & B,
but it happened and our baskets were the most
beautiful ever - the silent auction was great too.
Diane also has a soft spot in her heart for the
Canticle Place residents and planned the
Operation Friendship Secret Santa visit with
Betty Cronin - among all the other
things she does, including enlisting her husband, son and
friends to move coats from our storeroom to the office
Thanksgiving weekend!

Everyone was happy to see Roseanne Nash at
the luncheon, shown here with Marguerite Spangehl.
Roseanne has bounced back from some health issues
and comes out to support ALCW when she can. 

Marie Raffl and Madelon Pearlman 

Kathy Motherway and Diane Kurtz 

Mary Parsons and Becky Moats

Judy Casten with Carla Feinkind and Meg Cooper
immediate past VP Donor Development and
Ly Hotchkin's very good friend, has cultivated
valuable relationships for ALCW within the greater
Hinsdale community.  We missed Judy at B & B,
but she was doing something of far greater importance,
supporting a friend with cervical cancer, who
was paddleboarding on the Ganges River to raise money
and awareness. To learn more,
go to http://starryganga.com/

No rest for the money people! Ricki Lessig and a very
serious Joanna Williams find it easy to work after a
little wine, good food and the great camaraderie of ALCW friends.
The rest of us went home and took a nap.