Women Helping Women
A nonprofit, faith-based organization, With My Sisters is a group of women that helps the community in a variety of ways.
Like the Biblical story of the loaves and fishes, With My Sisters, Inc. continues to grow and multiply in membership and in number of programs it offers.
This nonprofit, faith-based organization resulted from a wish O’Keiya Dinnall wanted to fulfill.
“I don’t have sisters, and I was always trying to do something [for women],” she says.
While with friends Janelle Hankins and Megan Grissett in October 2017, she brought up the subject and suggested a gathering in which women could socialize and encourage each other to accomplish their goals.
“We can have a dinner with our sisters,” she told them.
The trio went into action, told friends, posted details on Facebook and arranged for a family-style dinner in the Improvement Center at Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Supply. They charged $10 to cover costs of the Jamaican dishes that Dinnall’s husband, Fray, who grew up in Jamaica, and a friend of his cooked for the 75 women who attended.
“People started asking, ‘What else we were going to do and what we stand for?’” Dinnall says.
She began quarterly empowerment sessions with topics on health and wellness, how to start a business and how to accomplish goals. She entered the group in business expos and partnered with local businesses. She told women they have talents they can utilize. “Whatever you can do, you can showcase your talent,” she says.
Another project Dinnall began is helping widows. A recent take-out Jamaican dinner raised more than $1,000, proceeds of which provided a basket of useful items including tissue, hand sanitizer, a crossword puzzle book and ChapStick, to 38 widows.
“You sit and talk to them,” Hankins says. “They are really excited that someone out of the blue is thinking about them.” The group plans to include widowers in their next fundraiser.
With My Sisters provides support and encouragement to women who served in the Armed Forces. They gave the women’s basketball team at Brunswick Community College a hot meal before each home game and special gifts on Valentine’s Day. They gave two $500 scholarships to women who graduated from West Brunswick High School, Dinnall’s alma mater. They have held ice cream socials at Shallotte Middle School.
“We are all on the same level, helping people,” says Gwen Blue.
“In With My Sisters, we want to be able to help all women live their best life and be the best they can be,” Dinnall says. “I tell them, ‘Be bold, be brilliant and be beautiful.’”
Dinnall has multiple talents herself, having earned two associate degrees from Brunswick Community College, one in health information management and the other in business administration. She received a master’s degree in divinity from North Carolina Theological Institute in Clinton, N.C., and preaches the fourth Sunday of the month at Embracing Christ Fellowship Church in Shallotte. She is also the church’s youth pastor. Her life took a turn in April 2018 when she opened the ice cream shop 2 Ladies & a Scoop Plus More in Ocean Isle Beach.
“It was not on my list of things to do,” she says. “God’s plans for me are bigger than I can ever imagine. Some people will never walk into a church but will walk into an ice cream shop. My prayer is that everybody who walks into the store feels God’s love and peace and joy. Whatever the outside world is doing to you, you can walk into this store and something is going to be effective in your life and put a smile on your face.”
Several members of With My Sisters met recently at 2 Ladies & a Scoop and arranged baskets for widows.
“I like the sisterhood and the idea of helping the community,” says Megan Grissett. “It’s not just about helping women. It’s about helping the entire community.”
With My Sisters member Veronica Byrd says she met Dinnall at the ice cream shop.
“I was intrigued by the ministry and asked if I could be a sister, and O’Keiya said, ‘Of course,’” Byrd says.
Dinnall says the projects at With My Sisters are the start to something bigger.
“I want to be able to help everybody, every female who’s ever been hurt, abandoned, abused, raped, molested or told they were never going to be anything,” she says.
She hopes to get an “emergency crisis vehicle” she can take to different cities to help women.
“I’ve always dreamed of having a safe haven house and helping people get back on their feet and be happy and productive,” she says.
Meet the Women of With My Sisters
Cake, Coffee and Conversation
August 7, 11 am to 1 pm
Embracing Christ Fellowship Church, 5041 Northside Drive, Shallotte
The event is free, but there’s limited seating; RSVP at (910) 227-9181