Local women joining forces to make a difference


They are Women for the Cause, and they just want to help as many people as they can.

Women for the Cause is a local nonprofit organization founded by three women who felt a need to "pay it forward."

"We don't want to be like everybody else. We don't want to limit ourselves to just one cause. We'll go wherever we're needed," co-founder Kelly Haley said. "Animals, domestic violence, child advocacy, hunger, homelessness, elderly, veterans -- we do it all."

And it's not just organizations they assist. They help individuals as well.

"There was a family that moved here recently and they had nothing. We put a call out and were able to completely furnish their new home with donations from our members and supporters," Haley said. "Then we had a teen mother who had nothing. We heard about her and our supporters donated a crib, diapers, baby clothes and everything else she needs to get a good start with her child."

It's not a meager undertaking, by any means. But still, they are always looking for more to do.

"We search for stuff on the Internet all the time and put a call out for help, volunteering our time to a lot of different causes whenever we see that extra hands are needed somewhere. We've helped build houses, participated in 5Ks, donated to food drives -- you name it," co-founder Bonnie Chapman said. "The only thing is that we stay away from national charities. We keep all of our money and efforts local."

Right now, Women for the Cause has almost 20 active members, and even more who participate when they can and help make things happen. Most of them have full-time jobs, but they view their time with the organization as fun.

"I love it," Haley said. "I'd rather be helping people all day long then doing anything else."

The group started as a cook-off team that would donate their winnings to local causes, but they wanted to do more.

Women for the Cause was founded in July 2011. They went in with a whole lot of love and zero dollars, but they had their 501(c) 3 status within months thanks to the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Association.

Since then, they have been unstoppable, and the co-founders have big dreams for their organization.

"I'd like to see Women for the Cause branch off and go nationwide with chapters in every community. Groups of people who care, reaching out to help their neighbors," Haley said. "That's what we want to see: more caring, and less selfishness."

Women for the Cause now spans three counties -- Harris, Brazoria and Galveston -- with most of the members residing in Pearland, Alvin, Friendswood, Clear Lake and Deer Park.

They meet every third Wednesday of the month at a café in Pearland. That's where they plan their next moves and discuss needs they've seen in their own communities that the group might be able to address.

"Then we start knocking them down," Chapman said. "One day at a time. One cause at a time."

And in case you were wondering, it's not all women. Several men are supporters of Women for the Cause and volunteer their time. For example, radio personality Outlaw Dave is a supporter and Brazoria County Precinct 3 Constable Buck Stevens is on the Women for the Cause advisory board.

"A large passion of mine is being involved in my community," Stevens said. "I'm honored to be on their board. Anything to do with helping children, victims and organizations in the community -- that's what I'm all about."

The next big Women for the Cause undertaking is a fundraiser for their own organization so they have the finances to step up when their help is needed. They are planning a bowling tournament. Details will be announced soon.

"We need individual donations, and we need corporate sponsorships," Chapman said. "We want to constantly help people, and we can't do that without the funds."

They're also trying to recruit more members.

"We're always looking for more to join in the fun," Haley said. "We know people are busy. We're all busy. We only require as much time as you want to give, and we try to make everything lighthearted and fun. Giving back makes us happy."

For more information on Women for the Cause and how you can get involved, visit their website at www.womenforthecause.org or check out their Facebook page.

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