COLUMBIA — Since 1989, a group of 11 women have been meeting regularly on the deck of McGinty's Pub.
Here's why: They are planning fundraisers. The typical question at every meeting is, "Where should the money go this time?"
What: D.O.L.L.S. fundraiser
When: 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday
Where: McGinty's Pub, 1312 Old 63 S.
Why: Provide assistance to a woman diagnosed with leukemia
Note: A number of businesses have volunteered to donate money, food, sound equipment and employees for Saturday's benefit concert: Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors, Jimmy John's, U.S. Rents It, Bob's Body Shop, Schepper's Distributing Co, Stadium Bar and Grill, Shane Baumhoer from Soundman Productions, Crawford Construction and Nauser Distributing.
The women call themselves the D.O.L.L.S., though the initials have no meaning. Their latest effort is a benefit with food, drinks and music to be held from 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the pub, 1312 Old 63 S.
The event will raise money for a friend who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
Columbia bands Cicada, DELI BOYS, B.I.G.G.F. and Hot Como Ditties will play live music until 9 p.m. Karaoke will follow.
“We started as individuals who wanted to do something good for the community,” said Tania Cook, president of D.O.L.L.S.
In the past 20 years, they have contributed over $10,000 to charities and fundraisers. They make regular donations to the Voluntary Action Center, Rainbow House and True North, the emergency shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
"We’re the longest contributor to the Rainbow House," Cook said. "We’ve given consistently every year for more than a decade."
Sometimes the cause is more personal. In 2011, the group responded to the death of a member's stepson by quickly setting up the the Kyle Major Memorial Scholarship Fund.
They also reach out to friends of the group. One had a son serving in Afghanistan, and the D.O.L.L.S. helped raise money to buy novels, magazines, food, toiletries and other items for the soldier.
Every member of the group pays dues, which become the primary source of income for philanthropies.
The D.O.L.L.S. started as a small group of friends, and it expanded as more friends wanted in. Most members have had an affiliation with a nonprofit organization before they join. Others just wanted a fun, communal outlet to help people in need.
“The number of members has always been in flux. People come and go,” said secretary Tara Cox. But the core members and charitable work have remained constant for the group.
The meetings have always been held at McGinty’s, even though the establishment has changed owners several times since 1989.
“It’s kind of like generations. You go from one generation to the next. Fortunately, we’ve had support from every new owner,” member Phyllis Ketring said.
Shaun Blevins, co-owner of McGinty's, said the D.O.L.L.S. put a lot of effort into making a difference on the issues they concentrate on.
“They don’t just get together and throw in a bunch of money," he said. "They make events fun and interactive so that people enjoy them. Yet, they’re still raising money for whichever cause they’re doing."