Businesswomen gather for fellowship
It was a garden of womanly delights.
The multi-purpose room at Community Covenant Church had transformed itself into a female centered heaven during the Share the Love business showcase Saturday, Feb. 8.
Founded by Chugiak-Eagle River Women in Business, the event coupled local women-run businesses with nonprofits.
And it smelled good, too.
Scents from candles, vanilla salts, facial creams and homemade goodies wafted through the air, along with free samples of gluten-free brownies, mini massages, eyebrown waxes and cookies with pretty pink icing.
In its second year, Share the Love featured more than 20 vendors including Thirty One Gifts, Perfectly Posh, Red’s Custome Cookies and Pampered Chef.
Nine local nonprofits attended and vied for the Favorite Nonprofit Award.
According to event founder Jenny Hawkins Hogrefe, Share the Love originated as a way to showcase businesses during a traditionally slow time of the year.
“At Christmas time, there is this barrage of vendor events and then nothing else going on,” she said.
The decision to partner with local nonprofits came about naturally.
“We wanted to do something different, and something meaningful,” she said. “As far as I know, we’re the only vendor event that partners with local nonprofits.”
One of those was Newborns in Need, a charity that donates essential baby items to homeless shelters, family crisis centers, hospitals and other organizations providing for the needs of premature and newborn babies in crisis.
The national organization has hosted a branch in Eagle River for more than five years.
Participating in Share the Love was a good way to get the word out, said Christina Nin, who volunteered at the event.
Community response is critical to the organization’s heartbeat, and the Chugiak-Eagle River area has consistently come through when needed.
“When we do a call, we always get what we request,” said Rhonda Cataldi, vice president of Alaska’s chapter of Newborns in Need. “Whenever we get low on something, it seems to naturally come in.”
Tracey Mitchell, a new chiropractor at long-term business Healthwise Care Center and Physical Therapy in Eagle River, viewed Share the Love as a way of connecting with the community face-to-face.
“It helps people get a better picture of who we are and what we do,” she said.
About 200 people were expected to attend the event, up about 50 people from last year, said Hogrefe.
Most were women but the occasional man tagged along as women browsed, sampled and lingered.
One of these was Beth Foglesong of Chugiak, in midst of a paraffin wax hand dip over at the Feather Skin and Body Studio vendor exhibit. Large mittens encased her hands and her face wore a look of relaxed bliss.
“It’s amazing.” She waved her mittened hands in the air. “It makes you feel so happy.”
Nonprofit award winners included $1,000 first place, Jeff Hill Legacy Fund; $500 second place, Chugiak-Eagle River Food Pantry; third place and $250, Eagle River Church of God Food Pantry; and $100 went to each of the the remaining organizations, Community Covenant Church Prison Mission, Eagle River Moms’ Club, Heart to Heart Pregnancy Resource Center, Mustang Hockey Association and Newborns in Need.
Reach Star reporter Cinthia Ritchie at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.