Just For Her Women’s Fair
Women’s Ministry Outreach – Lincoln, Nebraska by: Captain Angie Pennington
What an exciting day! More than 100 women attended a first-ever (but not last!) Women’s Fair held at The Salvation Army Lincoln corps. The fair consisted of more than 30 booths ranging in topic from health and beauty, education, community resources, cooking on a budget, healthy snacks, summer youth opportunities, and a photo booth. Free snacks were offered at the front door as well as registration for door prizes (left over Christmas toys). The fair “vendors”, if you will, were very excited to interact with the women and then number one question they asked was, “where did these women come from?”
What a great question! A Salvation Army van picked up a group from the Peoples City Mission, a local homeless shelter. Another van load arrived from St Monica’s, a residential drug rehab program for young moms. Many unfolded a worn copy of the flier they had received through our food pantry in the month leading up to the event. Local agencies shared the flier with clients and the word was out on television, radio, and in the newspaper. More important to me than where they came from is the question, “Who are these women?”
The booth sponsored by our Women’s Ministry group consisted of a table filled with freebies—make up, household items, jewelry, and a large quantity of glade candle freshners. Women were invited to fill out a survey and in return pick an item from the table. Wildly successful, this gave us data on who these women are and, even more exciting, leads for future contact. But let’s start with the basics: age. 27% of the women were in their 20s, 21% were in their 30s, 23% in their 40s, 17% in their 50s, 7% in their 60s, and 5% in their 70s.
Now here comes the exciting part. From the survey, 22 people asked for more information about our Character Building programs, 16 people asked for more information about our music programs, 27 people inquired about our worship services, and 16 people asked for a follow-up personal pastoral visit! As you can see, we have our work cut out for us. 5 years ago we administered this same survey in our food pantry and we have a family (mom and 8 kids) who now attend every time the doors are open and are active junior/senior soldiers and corps cadets. We are excited to see who God is preparing for us to connect with through the prompting of the Just for Her Women’s Fair.
Additionally, based on the results of the interest survey, we have a recruiting list for starting focus groups in quilting, senior social activities, mommy and me classes, weight loss groups, women’s walking club, classes on stretching your dollar and landlord/tenants rights, parenting with love and logic classes, cancer support groups, and bible study. The Just for Her women’s fair was a great opportunity for us to interact with new women in a new way, and to come away with a new understanding of their perceived needs and how we can best connect with them! And really, this is the essence of women’s ministry.