Womenade Games Day to support local women in crisis

Guests can eat well and have fun at the third annual Games Day fundraiser, benefiting women’s emergency shelters in Kent and Sussex counties.

Delaware By the Sea Womenade will host its Games Day on Thursday, May 16, from 8:30 to 3 p.m. at Mason Dixon VFW Post 7234, located at 29265 Marshy Hope Way, Ocean View.

Participants can play any game of their choice, as well as enjoy a continental breakfast with mimosas, fresh-shucked oysters, champagne, homemade cupcakes, and lunch by SoDel Concepts and Off the Hook. Blessed with a multitude of prizes, organizers have many raffle drawings, silent auction items, door prizes and a 50/50 planned.

All proceeds support People’s Place’s domestic violence programs and shelters.

“It’s a wonderful day filled with great food. We offer breakfast, fresh-shucked oysters with champagne and a beautiful lunch,” all overlooking the picturesque Indian River Bay, said Teresa Zatcoff, local Womenade group founder.

“Everybody has a great time!” said organizer Mary Headman. “It’s fun. It’s got everything planned — so from the minute you arrive, you’re entertained, even if you’re not playing a game. You’ve got your brunch, your coffee, if you want a mimosa… I just know from our meetings, when we get together, we have a great time.”

The registration fee for this year’s event was set at $50, and reservations needed to be made by May 7. People were being encouraged to sign up in groups of four, but “if you’re a singleton … we’re not going to leave you hanging,” Headman said.

Guests should bring a board game or two for their table. Popular games include Scrabble, mahjong, bridge, Mexican train, canasta, cribbage, chess and checkers.

Womenade is a grassroots organization of women helping women located throughout the county. Teresa Zatcoff founded the Bethany-area group around 2010 solely to support People’s Place, a Milford-area non-profit that operates three emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence in southern Delaware.

People’s Place operates two SAFE (“safety, advocacy, freedom and empowerment”) shelters and one Abriendo Puertas (meaning “opening doors” in Spanish) shelter.

Club member Rita Roitman created Games Day in 2017 after People’s Place lost about $1 million in government funding.

“It’s important because there are so many women and children who are living in very violent situations, and they’re escaping for their lives,” Zatcoff said. “They’re victims. This is to help support these women and children. Everything we do fills in the needs that the federal funding can’t help… their time at shelter and their time when they leave. I feel like we’re doing a significant amount of change for these women, just to help them get through each day.”

They have already contributed tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of funds and supplies, thanks to monthly club dinners, Game Day fundraisers, Holiday Wish List Drives and other programs.

The donations “help the families find their path to growth and independence.”

“It’s really about women getting together. It’s very easy. No one needs to do anything more than what they can do,” Zatcoff said. “There’s no requirements. You can give whatever you can afford.”

Many ladies have made new friends by attending Game Days and monthly potlucks, she said, especially if they’re new to Delaware.

During the year, Womenade hosts a potluck dinner every month or two. They collect toiletries, donations and even suitcases, “because the mothers and the families come to the shelter with their belongings in a plastic bag because they are escaping an abusive situation,” Headman said.

“When these women leave their homes, most times they’re leaving in the middle of the night, too,” Zatcoff said. “The dignity — I can’t imagine what they must be feeling, the fear they must be feeling.”

People’s Place staffers often attend the potlucks to share stories of the donations being put to good use.

“There’s so many stories. … We’ve had families that have maybe three or four children, even more,” Zatcoff said. “People’s Place helps them find work, and then our donations help them provide furniture and houseware needs.”

“We are basically a group of women that are living in this community … trying to make a difference for women that really come from such horrific situations with abuse,” said Zatcoff. “It’s prevalent in our community and the world where we live. They have the courage to leave their situations, which is so hard, and we can provide the necessary help that will put them in the right direction and make their lives a little happier.”

Statewide, People’s Place also offers counseling, community justice, life skills, domestic-violence services, emergency shelters and more (details at http://peoplesplace2.com).

“Because of the nature of the group, the locations where the families stay have to be private … because they don’t want the abusive spouse or partner to know the location of the person or family,” emphasized Headman, but they are serving women across the area who are in need of shelter for themselves and their children.

Learn more about Delaware By the Sea Womenade by emailing delawarewomenade@gmail.com.


By Laura Walter

Staff Reporter