Shelby Sieg, executive chef of The Pritchard Wine Bar, was looking for a way to support breast cancer awareness and treatment when she discovered Oklahoma Project Woman. After a discussion with sommelier Mindy Magers, the two decided that the issue deserves more than one month a year.
“We wanted to do something over a longer period of time to raise more awareness and money,” Magers says.
Repeatedly throughout her career in the dining industry, Sieg has worked around women who have no medical insurance. “When we saw that OPW helped women who have no insurance and that the money raised locally was used locally, we knew we’d found the right charity.”
The result is Bottles for Boobies – perhaps the greatest fundraiser name ever – a program that provides funds to Oklahoma Project Woman from the sales of bottles of rosé between June 1 and Aug. 31. Magers put together a select list of six bottles, and a percentage of the proceeds will go directly to the charity.
“I tried to construct a list of very different styles based on unique wines,” Magers explains. “They are also very affordable – from $25 to $40 – because we want people to buy bottles to support the cause, and we chose rosé because we wanted pink wine for breast cancer awareness.”
The cause is an organization that provides “screening to surgery” services for Oklahoma women who have limited financial means and no medical insurance. According to Sammi Hembree, the community development manager for OPW, the organization assisted more than 4,300 women in Oklahoma with services that ranged from mammograms to biopsies to actual surgery.
“The bulk of our work is screening services,” Hembree says, “but we really provide assistance for all issues related to breast health, including surgery.”
The organization, which is based in Tulsa, started in 1998 as Tulsa Project Woman. They were an offshoot of the American Cancer Society.
“Barbara Ford and Sue Schwarz started Tulsa Project Woman after working as part of a mentorship program that partnered cancer survivors with women who had received a recent diagnosis of breast cancer,” Hembree says. “They saw a need for more direct assistance, so they started their own 501(c)3, and we went statewide about five years ago.”
Because they are based on a philosophy of local support for local women, money raised in an event remains in the host city or county. That means money raised by The Pritchard will go to direct assistance for Oklahoma City metro women. All funding for the organization comes from foundations like Susan G. Komen, fundraisers and private donations; they receive no state or federal funding.
For women who need services, the process begins with a phone call to OPW’s office. “Our patient navigator, Shana Thomas, will walk them through the application process to see if they qualify, and then she can help them with all the other paperwork,” says Hembree.
Bottles for Boobies will be available anytime The Pritchard is open through Aug. 31. They are also accepting direct cash donations, and their progress will be tracked on all their social media platforms. Visit pritchardokc.com for details.
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