North County Womenade, a local nonprofit organization that raises money for local families that need financial assistance, has continued to serve the North County throughout the pandemic, donating nearly $30,000 in 2020. 

North County Womenade was founded in 2019 as a coalition of human service agencies, faith communities, and big-hearted people giving direct care to neighbors in critical need in the name of bringing the community closer together. The North County chapter comes from its predecessor’s spirit, Womenade in San Luis Obispo, founded in 2002 by local teacher Sandy Richardson.

Richardson read an article in “Real Simple” magazine about physicians that wanted to help lower-income patients that couldn’t afford medical devices like wheelchairs, and the idea was born. Richardson began organizing potluck dinners, asking friends to bring $35 (or the cost of a meal out) with them to donate, and the seeds of Womenade were planted.

After 16 years, Richardson retired in 2019 after helping with over a million dollars in donations and inspired more to continue the work she started. The San Luis Obispo Womenade often donated to people in need in the North County, which spawned the North County group in 2019. 

The name “Womenade” is a bit of a misnomer in that the organization helps everyone. Both men and women can submit requests to North County Womenade. The organization shared they could be rebranded soon with a more clear message. 

The nonprofit was founded by three local ladies, Michelle Blanc, a local nurse, Pastor Amy Beveridge of Bethel Lutheran Church, and Lisa Fraser, who works tirelessly for the underserved community with several organizations, including The Community Link and The Center For Family Strengthening. North County Womenade operates under the umbrella of the Center For Family Strengthening.

“We started holding fundraisers and went out and got some grants as well as holding potlucks,” Blanc told The Atascadero News. And while Fraser has been able to help the group secure a few grants, Blanc says, “Largely the donations have come from people in the North County supporting the North County.”

As of August, the group has already issued just under $30,000 and have helped their neighbors cover everything from medical bills and baby shoes to groceries and rent. 

Like most nonprofit agencies, COVID-19 has stretched their resources thin as the number of funds coming in has slowed due to their inability to fundraise coupled with the community’s growing need. Those interested in donating or receiving help can visit their website at www.northcountywomenade.org/. Both the donate and request button’s located in opposite corners at the top of the page. 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles