TRAVERSE CITY — Soon Hagerty, Lisa Schmidt and Kristy Kurjan enjoyed the camaraderie that came with getting together for lunch every week.
But last winter they decided that something was missing.
“We said, ‘Why don’t we go out for good instead of evil?’” said Hagerty, referring to those extra calories and the pounds they can pile on.
They came up with a community service plan, reached out to several like-minded friends and made up T-shirts, calling themselves “Chicks for Charity.”
Now, instead of meeting for lunch, the 12 women get together once a month for area volunteer projects they take turns heading up.
“Both Soon and I basically came from nothing and had to work for everything we had,” said Schmidt, who grew up with a single mom and had to pitch in to help make ends meet. “We’re very aware of how fortunate we are and we just feel we should give back. Now that we have children, we talked about wanting to set an example for them. That was the idea of wanting to physically get out there. And we wanted to get younger people out volunteering and not just writing checks.”
The women dived into their first project May 19. They spent the morning helping to upgrade the clothing area at The Father Fred Foundation, which gives away the clothing to people in need.
“It’s all about that respect for people and making them feel good about shopping,” said Joan O’Neill, Father Fred's communications manager.
Schmidt and fellow “Chick” Erica Mohr chatted as they hung donated clothing on uniformly padded hangers.
“It’s a way to keep each other involved and committed,” Hagerty said, of the casual yet organized group. “It’s kind of like going on a diet. If you tell people, they hold you accountable. And we’re chatting about life and work and kids.”