One dinner at a time

Weehawken woman starts ‘Dining for Women’ chapter in hometown

The average American household of 2.5 people spends $2,619 annually eating out at restaurants, according to the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But what if, instead of spending $20 on an entrée, you got together with some friends once a month, brought a dish to share, and donated that $20 to the less fortunate who live on less than $1 a day?
It’s the inspiring idea behind non-profit Dining for Women, which has driven women nationwide to cancel their dinner reservations and start hundreds of chapters since Marsha Wallace founded the organization in 2003.


“For me, it’s very important…to believe in the work that I’m doing.” – Kirsten Bunch

Donations from the “dinner-giving circles” fund Dining for Women’s international programs to empower women and girls living in extreme poverty.
Weehawken resident Kirsten Bunch, recently appointed to Dining for Women’s board of directors, hopes to introduce the community to the organization’s mission through a newly established Weehawken chapter with potluck dinners starting this month.

About Dining for Women

Now in its ninth year, Dining for Women has raised over $950,000 for various carefully selected grass-roots programs for international women and children.
With a particular focus on education, health care, vocational training, and economic self-sufficiency issues, the programs empower women and girls and give them the tools to combat problems intrinsic to the developing world.
The programs provide the organization with a follow-up report detailing how the donations were spent and their effect upon the program’s target population.
According to a 2001 study by the World Bank, gender equality is vital to combat world poverty and yields a double dividend, elevating women and as a result, their families and communities.
Dining for Women has been featured in The New York Times, Women’s Day magazine, and on Good Day America and the Today Show.
For more information, visit, e-mail, or call (864) 335-8401.

Emotionally profiting with non-profits

After Bunch was introduced by a friend to Dining for Women just a year ago, she made contact with founder Wallace, who quickly realized that Bunch’s extensive non-profit background in international development and passion for humanitarian causes could be of use to the organization.
She initially interviewed Bunch for the position of executive director within the organization, but accepting the position would entail, for Bunch, moving to South Carolina where Dining for Women is based.
“Her skill set was so impressive, I didn’t want to lose her entirely,” Wallace said of Bunch’s appointment, instead, to the board of directors.
Currently, Bunch is manager of government and multilateral resource development for non-profit Rainforest Alliance in New York City, where she raises money to support the organization and its projects.
She has also worked as an independent consultant for a number of international organizations, managing Afghan small business partnerships and business development initiatives for women entrepreneurs.
In addition, she has managed global programs for Aide to Artisans, Inc., East West Institutes, and the International Cultural Youth Exchange.
She holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University and a Master in Arts in Latin American and Caribbean studies.
Bunch was first introduced to the world of non-profits in her first job out of college. After a stint in the corporate world, she realized that the non-profit world was a much better fit.
“For me, it’s very important to connect to the mission of an organization…to believe in the work that I’m doing,” she said.

Weehawken chapter

Bunch is excited to start a Weehawken chapter for an organization she believes in.
“For me to share my experiences, and also what Dining for Women does with my local community, is something very appealing to me,” Bunch said.
The Weehawken chapter joins another newly created chapter in Roseland to unite New Jerseyans in Dining for Women’s mission of “changing the world one dinner at a time.”
The chapter’s first meeting will be held Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. For more information, please contact Kirsten Bunch at
Deanna Cullen can be reached at


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