Women’s Lunch Place (WLP) is celebrating 40 years of serving women in need this year, and is gearing up to host its annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser.
The fundraiser, which was held last year as a series of small watch parties, is returning to a fully-in person event this year at the Fairmont Copley Plaza on October 21.
According to a press release from WLP, “The program will feature the stories of several Women’s Lunch Place guests and honor Cummings Foundation, which recently awarded a 10-year $300,000 grant to Women’s Lunch Place enabling its Advocacy services team to create individualized health, stability, and financial independence plans for vulnerable women.”
WLP opened 40 years ago as ‘“Boston’s first daytime shelter for women,” and continues to provide a “holistic approach” to helping women in need. WLP provides “mental health and other wellness programs, direct care such as laundry, access to showers, feminine hygiene and other essentials, housing advocacy and employment counseling, and, of course, the delicious healthy, shared meals that are a Women’s Lunch Place hallmark,” the release states.
The Sun spoke with WLP’s Chief Development Officer Paula White about the impact of this fundraiser and WLP’s work as the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary,
“One of the things that’s going to make this event, I feel, really special, is not only celebrating or looking at 40 years of Women’s Lunch Place,” she said. “We’re looking to tell a larger story about…homelessness, poverty, and women’s rights over the past 40 years.”
This year, award-winning filmmaker Steve Liss of Boston Film Works will “tell our story,” White said, with a video presented at the event.
Additionally, “we are hoping to celebrate not only with the current leaders, but all the past leaders both in Boston and in Massachusetts,” she said, which include WLP leaders as well as government and industry leaders.
The organization is aiming to raise $500,000 on the night of the fundraiser, and she said that folks should know that “any money that is raised through this event is going to help women who walk through our doors. Every day those needs change, but it’s really about food security, housing security, and economic empowerment,” and “giving women the opportunity to create those building blocks to build an independent and stable life for themselves on their terms.”
White also said that WLP has been collecting data over the past 20 years, and in those 20 years, has served over 1.5 million meals, held nearly 40,000 one-on-one advocacy appointments, and provided 100,000 showers and laundry services.
“These are the types of things we’re hoping to highlight throughout the event,” White said: “How important it is that a place like Women’s Lunch Place has existed for 40 years,” and the need for it to “continue to exist for the next 40 years.”
White said that tickets to the Spaghetti Dinner are quickly selling out, so “people shouldn’t delay” in purchasing them, as they are expected to sell out soon. Tickets are $250 each.
“This event for Women’s Lunch Place is kind of going to be the pinnacle of our entire year,” White said, “and we are expecting a really top-level curated guest list.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit womenslunchplace.org/spaghetti-dinner