Charitable group makes big impact

By Dick Mason, The Observer April 17, 2013 12:47 pm


John DeNault and Carmel Bourhill fill meal trays with the day’s menu before heading out on their Meals-on-Wheels delivery routes Tuesday. Meals on Wheels will receive $1,000 from Impact 100. Chris Baxter/The Observer
John DeNault and Carmel Bourhill fill meal trays with the day’s menu before heading out on their Meals-on-Wheels delivery routes Tuesday. Meals on Wheels will receive $1,000 from Impact 100. Chris Baxter/The Observer

Women of Impact 100 hand out $14,520 to individuals, families and service organizations  

by Dick Mason/The Observer

The upright piano in the meeting room of the Northeast Oregon Transit Building stood silent early Monday night during a meeting of Impact 100.  

 Still, unforgettable high notes were hit at the gathering — high notes for humanity and compassion.

This was not surprising considering that Impact 100, comprised of dozens of local women, is one of the leading charitable organizations in Union County. Its members on Monday evening again did what they do best — extend hands of assistance to the less fortunate in Union County. 

The women of Impact 100 distributed $14,520, money they raised over the past 12 months, to help individuals, families and community service organizations in Union County with important needs.

Impact 100 has now raised and distributed about $160,000 to the community since the group was founded 10 years ago. Midge Mink is among the members who have attended regularly.  

“I absolutely love it,’’ Mink said. “I leave knowing that we really helped somebody.’’

Those the women of Impact 100 reached out to on Monday include:

• an 11-year-old girl whose family will receive $4,100 for braces and oral surgery she badly needs.

• a young La Grande family whose father can’t work because of a medical condition. The family will receive $1,000.

• the parents of a young family who will receive a special car seat for their 4-1/2-year-old daughter. The girl needs the car seat for support while being driven to Portland for medical appointments. The car seat will cost $1,074.

• a La Grande man who can no longer work because of arthritis but needs dentures he cannot afford. The man will receive $4,000 for the dentures.

• the Meals on Wheels program run by Community Connection of Northeast Oregon. The program provides many meals daily to people in Union County who are home bound. Meals on Wheels will receive $1,000.

• a man who needs to have eight teeth pulled and replaced by dentures. He will receive $3,200 for the dental work and dentures.

Impact 100 started a decade ago with goal of raising $10,000 each year by having 100 people donate $100. Impact 100 has surpassed this goal each of the past eight years. Susie Harris of La Grande, a leader of Impact 100 and one its founders, said the success of the program has surpassed her expectations. She credits its longevity to the feeling of satisfaction people get when they reach out to others. 

“When you see how much a small offering can help, you go, ‘Oh my gosh!’’’ Harris said.

Direct impact locally

Carol Lauritzen of
La Grande, an Impact 100 member, credits the program’s success to how it directly helps people locally. 

“People value contributions which will have a direct impact on the well being of people in the community,’’ Lauritzen said. 

Lanetta Paul of La Grande echoes these thoughts.

“It feels so good to help people who need it so much,’’ said Paul, an Impact
100 member. 

Paul noted that many of the people assisted this year received money to assist with dental work.  

“Imagine not being able to pay to have a bad tooth fixed. When one tooth hurts, your whole body hurts,’’ said Paul, noting that she can’t comprehend the discomfort someone with a mouth filled with bad teeth would experience.

Paul said that she donates to Impact 100 each year in memory of her late sister Darla Sunderman, who was a popular teacher at La Grande High School for many years. 

Organizations and programs that will receive assistance from Impact 100 and were not listed earlier include:

• The Center for Human Development’s critical care program, which will receive $1,000. The program assists the public in obtaining important medications. Impact 100 has supported the CHD program each of the past 10 years. 

• Arts for All, which will be given $500. 

 Impact 100 of Union County will conduct its next meeting in April 2014. All women who donate $100 over the next year will be eligible to vote. People can make their donation to an account at Community Bank in La Grande or via a payroll deduction program if they work for the La Grande School District, the Center for Human Development, Heidi Ho Christian Preschool and Kindergarten or Grande Ronde Hospital.

 For information on making donations, call Harris at