HomeBusinessFirst Ladies Luncheon celebrates biggest year yet

First Ladies Luncheon celebrates biggest year yet

The United Way of West Tennessee hosted more than 1,000 women at the Jackson Fairgrounds Thursday, April 13, for their 10th Annual First Ladies Luncheon, one of their biggest fundraisers of the year. 

“First Ladies luncheon really enables us to end every year and begin every year with a bang, you know, from a revenue and financial standpoint, and they really empower so much of the work we get to do administratively. So it allows more of the dollars that we raise and campaign to go to those nonprofit agencies,” Matt Marshall, President/CEO of United Way of West Tennessee said. 

Marshall expects the fundraiser to raise more than $75,000 for the organization, which supports other nonprofits across the region and connects people in need to a network of resources.

While the event is for a good cause, attendees look forward to two main elements: the keynote speaker, and the table decorations.

This year, 126 tables were decorated to perfection, from table clothes to flower arrangements. One table featured live plants from a local store, and on another, an entire chair was decorated on top of the table. Some floral arrangements reached several feet high, and several tables featured layers of charger plates, decorative napkins, and small gifts. 

“Every year, these tables get bigger and bigger.  They get taller and taller as well. But, what we see from a creativity standpoint is just mind boggling. I can’t get my mind around the designs people come up with,” Marshall said. 

The keynote speaker for the event was Meg Kinnard-Hardee, reporter for the Associated Press, granddaughter of the late Congressman Ed Jones, and breast cancer survivor. 

Associated Press reporter Meg Kinnard-Hardee gives the keynote address at the First Ladies Luncheon, reminding women to advocate for their own health. (Photo courtesy of Bramblett Group)

Her message for all 1,000 women in the room: self exam, get a mammogram, and advocate for yourself. 

“A big thing that I want to impart to everyone here today is the importance of not only staying on top of your own health, but also advocating for yourself whenever there are struggles, particularly when it comes to our health care and diagnosis that we get,” Kinnard- Hardee said,  “So understanding and listening to what our physicians tell us, but also when there’s that little voice in the back of your head that tells you there might be something else, pushing for a second opinion, and pushing to get to the root of whatever is causing the issue.”

Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news

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