Grayson Lewis had no plans to attend the 2022 100+ Women Who Care event. A call and personal invitation from Karin Beyer persuaded her to attend. It was hard to say no to Karin, and as a newly elected board member of Gaylord’s Last Resort, she decided it might be a good idea to nominate them in the process.

It was a warm day in May last year when 100+ Women Who Care was held. Grayson remembers being uncomfortable and sweaty as she dragged her rolling suitcase of brochures and plastic flowers that would adorn her informational table during the pre-event hour. She felt out of place with what she brought. Other nonprofits had beautiful table runners and slick handouts. She felt out of her league and like an imposter. It turns out she was not out of her league. All nonprofits are welcome; no fancy table runners are needed.

Not to mention, her table was two booths away from the bar. When women, armed with their freshly poured drinks, asked about Gaylord’s Last Resort, the local Alano meeting spot, many looked down sheepishly. Grayson assured them she would not snatch it out of their hands.

When the event started at 6 pm, Grayson was one of four called to address the crowd. She had nothing planned, so as she stood before the 100+ attendees, she shared her story spontaneously. Grayson was both nervous and excited to talk about Gaylord’s Last Resort because many people don’t know where to go for help with addiction, or they don’t know what is available. Her connection to Gaylord’s Last Resort extends beyond being a board member. Grayson has been involved with this nonprofit for over two decades on a personal level.

Gaylord’s Last Resort is the local Alano Club, a meeting space for Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. They host 27 meetings a week, playing a vital role in this community. Gaylord’s Last Resort has been in its current building since 2005, and over the years, it has become so much more than a building for 12-step meetings. It is a place for community and support and where people are seen and heard. Some members make an evening of it, staying for multiple meetings and playing pool with friends. It is a warm and welcoming place where people in various stages of sobriety can socialize and gather.

Gaylord’s Last Resort operates on a shoestring budget. They have no reserves or savings to pay for building repairs or upgrades. Last year’s $5,000 grant allowed them to install outdoor security cameras and do minor upgrades to the building. More importantly, it gives them some breathing room, something they have never had before. It allows them to plan for the future and respond to unexpected expenses. It helps ensure the building and group are there for those who count on their meetings. Grayson says the group is grateful to the 100+ Women Who Care for this unexpected grant. “It’s so touching to be given something we didn’t even ask for.”

Grayson’s own story is woven into that of Gaylord’s Last Resort. Last year, as a woman living in sobriety, she was not public about this personal matter. She chose to share her personal story of sobriety with the crowd, and she struck a chord. When the votes were tallied, Gaylord’s Last Resort had enough to take home the evening’s highest grant award, $5,000. For Grayson, this was more than a grant to the nonprofit she nominated. It was a warm reception from a community of women toward her and her journey to sobriety as well. She felt like “Gaylord cared about us.”

Addiction affects one in three people, and many do not know where to turn for help. At Gaylord’s Last Resort, they will “help anyone who comes to us.” For more information, you can visit their website or their Facebook page. They are there to help.

To attend this year’s 100+ Women Who Care event and nominate a nonprofit, please visit /100wwc.