After having been an admin for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Wine DE MD PA Facebook group, Kayla Diana Miller, Fleetwood, was so inspired that she started a smaller Berks chapter.
What impressed Miller most about the original Sisterhood was their drive and desire to lift up women during these uncertain times. She felt the group she started far surpassed her expectations.
“This group of women is truly inspiring. The amount of kind and thoughtful messages from women who are going through the worst and this group brings a smile to their face,” said Miller.
Miller said messages from women who did not know her from Adam brought her to tears.
“They opened up about their lives and how they were wined at just the right time! Really makes the long hours on the computer worth it! The new friendships that have been made and neighbors or new neighbors have been so cool,” said Miller.
“I do this just to brighten someone’s day,” said Misty Sparks, Topton.
Sparks, surprised by a gift of wine, lotion, and other treats, said you don’t normally get stuff like that in the mail or on your porch.
Her daughter, Britney Jeschonek, 15, Queen of Pageant Royalty for the state of Pennsylvania, helped with the deliveries.
Keri Moyer, Fleetwood, had delivered 11 wine basket gifts. She said some of the women were really excited because of having had a really bad day.
“I love to gift people and I love the element of surprise,” said Moyer. “I just think it was a great, fun idea and it brought the community closer in this time.”
Taylor Nugent, Fleetwood, had received one of the wine gifts from Moyer and has gifted other women as well.
“I think it’s really uplifting, honestly, especially during a time where you’re trapped in your house, you can’t really talk to people or do anything,” said Nugent. “It’s a really nice fun way to just make somebody’s day a little bit better.”
Nugent’s neighbor had been wined at a time when she had just lost her husband. Her secret wine fairy (a sentiment shared in the group) had just lost her grandmother so Nugent had planned to wine her. Each of these women in turn wanted to return the kindness they had received.
“It just makes me so happy to see how excited everybody gets. It’s like Christmas, but with wine,” said Tammy Kemp, Boyertown.
Kemp said the first day she had delivered wine was the day when she was wined.
“I was so excited. It made me feel like someone was thinking of me. It was really nice that it came from a stranger,” said Kemp. “Everybody that I’ve done is a complete stranger to me despite the fact that I have multiple family members and friends in the group because it makes it a lot more fun.”
“There have been quite a few ladies who posted online saying, ‘Oh, my God, I had such a bad day, or, I had such a bad week and this just made everything better,’” said Kemp.
Tina Flood, Greenfield, got out of her car carrying a basket filled with goodies and, of course, wine. This was her first delivery and a second basket was waiting in her car to be delivered.
“I did it because it is fun and during the pandemic, kind of everybody is depressed and when I got mine [wine gift] I was so excited, I started crying,” said Flood.
Miller said that as of May 18 at 9:30 p.m. there are 1,551 members and 1,600 waiting to be approved.
“There are questions in place when someone is invited to our group from a current member. That helps me filter through to control numbers. Safety and privacy of our members is my No. 1 focus. I do not have a cap in mind, but a few members are added each nigh from the ones who answered the questions.”
Miller said sipping sweet Moscatos or wine coolers was just the beginning of a passion for wine and hoped to spread the love for all wines in the group. She started games for gifts of wine featuring local wineries.
Miller plans to keep the group going even after she is able to resume her work as a hairstylist. She plans to unwind as she sips a glass of wine in the evening while updating the spreadsheets she had created to keep track of the group.