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Women of Excellence luncheon benefits Massena Neighborhood Center

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MASSENA - What started out as a simple women’s luncheon held twice a year has become a big fundraiser for the Massena Neighborhood Center.

The Women of Excellence luncheon group recently held another holiday luncheon fundraiser at New Testament Church, and Elaine G. Cardinal, one of the organizers, said it was another big success.

In fact, she said, a raffle that sold one ticket for $1 or six tickets for $5 made $1,100 alone.

The luncheon, which was held during the summer and near the end of the year when it began, is more than just a luncheon. It became so popular that organizers began charging $3 for a ticket, and they hold fundraisers during the event.

Tables are decorated in various harvest, Thanksgiving and Christmas themes, and several businesses contribute items for the fundraisers.

The luncheons, Mrs. Cardinal said, give women an opportunity to enjoy themselves and support a worthwhile organization in the community.

She said one of the highlights is seeing how the tables are decorated. The event included 32 round and long tables and drew 256 people.

“Tables were done up, all designed and decorated with a theme pertaining to fall, winter, Thanksgiving, autumn or Christmas, either round or long that seated eight people,” she said.

“We provided the tables and cloths. They brought in everything else to decorate their tables,” Mrs. Cardinal said. “It is really neat to see each lady create these gorgeous tables using glass, plastic, paper and cloth. From simple to really elaborate, each one is unique, like God made each one of us. All together it is so spectacular.”

The eclectic luncheon menu included mini quiches; homemade swirl bread with cranberry sauce; mixed greens with strawberries, mandarin oranges, grapes, sugared nuts and vinaigrette; broccoli salad; rice salad with chestnuts and marinated artichoke hearts; ambrosia salad, capris bruschetta; deviled eggs; and bean salads salad with scoop tortilla chips.

There was a soup table with a variety of items, as well as two dessert tables.

Entertainment included a song by Winthrop’s Felicia Saumier, and Akaycia Colbert, who did a drama and also made a patriotic Christmas table.

“We had a table where ladies could sign cards for our military men overseas,” Mrs. Cardinal said.

Hurlbut Tent Rentals provided tables for the luncheon, and a number of businesses, organizations and individuals provided donations for the raffle, including BJ’s, TJ Maxx, Valley Paper, Season’s, Healthy Way, Sawdust Creations, Natural Nail Salon, Vino Vidi Vici, Violi’s, Tom and Melody St. Pier. By Grace Designs, Riverflow Studios and Walmart.

“Price Chopper sent Belinda Niles, their floral manager, to demonstrate arrangements. This is the third year that they have generously done this and all arrangements we have are also raffled off,” Mrs. Cardinal said.

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