BUCKHANNON — Area women supported two Buckhannon woman-owned businesses and collected donations to benefit women in need Wednesday as part of International Women’s Day.
Lisa Hollen owns Beech Tree Yoga and Wellness and led a Women’s Empowerment Yoga and Meditation Wednesday evening.
“I have my regular Wednesday class and because it was International Women’s Day, I felt guided to invite more women to celebrate the day,” she said. “I happened upon the women’s sisterhood circle which seemed like it would flow right in and it also coordinated with the Day Without a Woman. It all came together on one day and it worked out perfectly.
“I had an idea that I would like it to be a donations based class. I reached out to Sara [a shelter manager with Women’s Aid in Crisis] and asked if they accepted donations. As it turned out, it was a really great benefit for her group.”
Women’s Aid in Crisis is a private non-profit providing comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking in a six-county area including Buckhannon.
People brought donations of toiletries and feminine products that those in need can use because often women leave an abusive environment with little or nothing of their own.
The meditation was part of a globally synchronized event.
“You heard in the meditation just this real awakening of the women, that we are stronger,” Hollen said. “We are opening businesses, we are running businesses day-to-day in a world that is changing.”
Hollen said she opened a business later in life after feeling called to serve a need in a small town.
Beech Tree Yoga and Wellness provides people with education, wellness, peace and compassion by offering a variety of yoga classes for all levels.
More information about Beech Tree Yoga and Wellness can be found on their Facebook page or by calling 304-642-9895.
The day also became known as A Day Without Women as some women across the nation chose to stay home.
Others decided to support women-owned businesses only on March 8, wear red or do other things to show their support.
Prior to the class, a group of women also met at Dough Re Mi on College Avenue to support another woman-owned business.
Heather Schneider,owner, said, “Everyone participated yesterday in the way that they felt they were able to. Being a female and owning a business and being new in the business, I don’t have the capital to be able to close for something like this. It made more sense for me to be open and support visibility of women in business.”
Schneider said she felt that she could better serve the day by “being a meeting place and continuing the things I have done since I have been open which speak to a much broader way to help humanity.”
For example, Schneider said people tell her they feel comfortable in Dough Re Mi and feel able to have conversations about various topics and be open with one another.
“I think that is important to finding our way to equality and we are not yet there when it comes to all the inequality in our society,” she said.
Dough Re Mi sells coffee, teas and a variety of baked goods made fresh including both white and wheat breads, scones, muffins and cookies.
Schneider also has local tea blends, jams and jellies, farm fresh eggs used in the baked goods and sold by the dozen, local honey, artisan work and more.
Dough Re Mi also sells some music supplies.
It’s Wednesday open session for local musicians has become a popular event.
To learn more, visit Dough Re Mi’s Facebook page or stop by the store at 39 College Ave.
Dr. Lisa DiDonato with the Women’s March statewide group, said, “On the statewide level, there is definitely a push from the West Virginia Women’s March chapter to get together databases and distribute them so that we as individuals in society can see which businesses are female owned and female lead.
“For us personally, we thought of it even before we knew of the push on the state and national level. The group that I work with we feel that it is really important to support fellow women in all of their endeavors especially in the world of businesses where we don’t have as many female led businesses.
“We also want to make sure everyone in this county knows which businesses are female owned.”
DiDonato has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and researches gender which led to her personal drive to be part of this project in promoting women in the workplace.
That database is still being created and so local women who would like to be added should request to join WV Women’s March-Upshur County to share their information.
Once the database is made, it will be distributed in a more public format.