7960352056?profile=original2011 Women of Grace honorees are Peggy Martin (left), Pamela Avalos, Linda Gunn, Connie Siskowski and Nilsa McKinney. Photo provided

By Linda Haase

    They’ve raised money for playgrounds and gardens. They‘ve fed the hungry, offered solace to the poor and provided help for earthquake victims. They’re the Women of Grace — and they’ll be honored for their volunteerism by the Bethesda Hospital Foundation on Nov. 9.
    The event honors volunteers nominated by nonprofit organizations — and raises money for the Bethesda Hospital Foundation, which benefits Bethesda’s Center for Women and Children, including its maternity centers and a level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
    “The foundation is honored to recognize these outstanding women volunteers who share the same philosophy and mission as our foundation, caring for our community. Their dedication and efforts have benefited so many people in need in our area,” said Kay Harvey, Bethesda Hospital Foundation’s executive director.
    The 12th annual event will honor these women:

    Pamela Avalos of Lake Worth, nominated by Alzheimer’s Community Care and March of Dimes, has volunteered with the March of Dimes and its March for Babies for the past five years. She also chairs the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Health Care Committee and assists the Susan G. Komen organization. And, despite a deteriorating economy, she has been able to raise money and exceed her goals for these organizations.

    Linda Gunn of Delray Beach, nominated by the Milagro Center, believes one person can make a difference. In the past 17 years, she has helped many grateful organizations, including the Milagro Center, where she and a committee of Junior League of Boca Raton volunteers installed a new playground and garden for the children at the center. She is also the board president of the Spirit of Giving Network and a past president of the Junior League of Boca Raton.
   
Peggy Martin of Boynton Beach, nominated by Bethesda Hospital Foundation and Women’s Circle Inc., is a retired Gulf Stream School teacher. Her volunteer work includes supporting the Women of Grace Luncheon, which she twice chaired, and the Magnolia Society, a major sponsor of the luncheon. She also serves on the board of directors and is chairing this year’s annual fundraiser for the Women’s Circle, which helps empower underserved and unemployed women. Her efforts helped the Women’s Circle buy a larger facility.
   
Nilsa McKinney of Delray Beach, nominated by Caring House Project Foundation and St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church and School, has dedicated 15 years to feeding the hungry and helping the poor and homeless. She’s a passionate volunteer for the Caring House Project Foundation and helped coordinate the building of 17 self-sufficient villages in Haiti and also helped provide relief after the 20210 earthquake. She also volunteers with St. Vincent Ferrer School and Church, helping raise funds for state-of-the-art improvements.
   
Connie Siskowski of Boca Raton, nominated by American Association of Caregiving Youth, is a registered nurse and the President of the American Association of Caregiving Youth, which supports children caring for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. She has served as a Florida representative for the National Family Caregivers Association for 13 years and also volunteers with First United Methodist Church and Soroptimist International.  

    The luncheon is at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 9, and the luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $85 per person. For more information, call 737-7733, Ext. 85600.

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