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story.lead_photo.caption Chris Sooter and Anita Pinson, with the Rape and Abuse Crisis Services, and Zonta President Sarah Veile stand Tuesday next to items donated by members as part of Zonta's Centennial Challenge during the Zonta Centennial Celebration at the Jefferson City Country Club. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

In celebration of Zonta International turning 100 years old, the Zonta Club of Jefferson City honored community members and organizations Tuesday evening that have made an impact locally.

The club, which is part of Zonta District 7, presented Centennial Impact awards to River City Habitat for Humanity and the late Lorna Wilson.

Sarah Veile, Zonta Club of Jefferson City president, said River City Habitat for Humanity was "a perfect fit for our nomination." The local Zonta chapter provides most of the Habitat for Humanity's new homeowners a welcome basket containing items like sheets, laundry detergent, towels and cleaning products, she added.

Susan Cook-Williams, executive director of River City Habitat for Humanity, said it's an honor for River City Habitat for Humanity to partner with the Zonta Club of Jefferson City.

"The very hardest day is when we accept applications and I read the applications on why they need housing, but the best day is the day of dedication, when, typically, the woman of the house accepts the keys to a home she never thought that she would have. It's truly inspiring," she said.

Veile said River City Habitat for Humanity's vision to provide housing to those in need has created a positive force in Jefferson City.

"We hope this helps them work toward their vision of building strength, stability, and self-reliance in partnership with families in need of decent and affordable housing," she said.

The Zonta Club of Jefferson City nominated Wilson, who died in August, for the award because she was a "pioneer in women's issues in our community and our state," Veile said. Wilson began her career as a school nurse before serving as the director of the Cole County Health Department and later the director of the Division of Maternal and Child Health with the Missouri Department of Health.

"While she is no longer with us, Lorna's impact continues today, and we are excited that were are able to honor her and her legacy," Veile said.

As part of its "Centennial Challenge," the Zonta Club of Jefferson City also presented almost 200 donated items, primarily cleaning supplies, to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service. Their goal was 100 items, Veile said.

"When (Zonta District 7) encouraged us to find a community partner to collect items for — because the challenge was to collect 100 items for someone in the community — it made perfect sense to go to RACS and ask them what they needed," Veile said.

Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a nonprofit organization that fights for women's equality and provides various services to communities in dozens of countries. The Zonta Club of Jefferson City was chartered in 1947.

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