It’s quickly becoming wedding season, and one of the best parts of getting invited to that celebration is scanning the couple’s registry and seeing what they like and what means something to them. Is it the beautiful dishes they will have forever, 800 thread count sheets they may never get again, or tents and outdoor equipment for their love of camping?

With all the registries I’ve seen over the years, I usually sense there are a few pricey items on it that the couple would enjoy but may not really expect to get. “What the heck,” I can hear them saying, “let’s give it a shot,” and point the scanner at it with a little hope and a shrug. Some of these are even labeled “Possible Group Gift” on the registry.  It’s the espresso machine, or the outdoor pizza oven – fabulous, but a bit out of reach.

I want to really like what I give a couple. It doesn’t matter, as it isn’t for me, but it’s part of my decision-making process. I want to feel something about the gift I give.

At our Community Purse meetings, it’s like looking at a registry. Our visiting organizations come to us with the fabulous work they’re doing and outline their needs – their registry. With what we can gather as a group, we can totally manage the thing just out of reach, for example, revamping a kitchen to help teach life skills to Special Needs adults, or training more advocates to accompany a child and their family through the healing process from abuse.

I love hearing about the amazing work being done in our county. At almost every meeting, I learn about an organization I’ve never heard of before, doing amazing things right around the corner from where I live. Every one of them is worthy of whatever help we can give.

At the end of it, though, we vote. We vote our hearts, and, perhaps, some small whisper inside. We vote for the cause, the passion, and where the money will go.  We vote the registry, and the item on it that seemed more a wish than a plan becomes real. We, as part of Community Purse, are the essence of “Possible Group Gift.”

I am honored to be a part of this process. The women (and men, more recently!) that make up our meetings are attentive, sincere, and often conflicted by having to choose, but as we gather and study the registries we are offered, the excitement of our gift is felt by both the receiving organization and, certainly, all of us.


Scan away! Community Purse may make that need come true.

Shannon Plate
McHenry County chapter