St. Luke fundraiser mixes fashion with philanthropy

Apr. 12, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Like all the garments that will grace the runway Saturday at St. Luke United Methodist Church, the white dress has a past.

According to the church, the frock once belonged to a woman who planned to be married in it — before she realized that she was too young to wed. The full-length satin and tulle gown went to charity — and its owner volunteered for a mission trip to Haiti.

A narrator will share the stories attached to each piece in the “Showers of Blessings” thrift shop fashion show and luncheon, which the church will host at noon on Saturday. More than two dozen volunteers have signed on for the fundraiser at the church’s Christian Life Center and will model 35-40 items — which were purchased from area thrift and consignment stores.Susan Laudate, president of the St. Luke United Methodist Women, said the show is a joint venture by her organization and the church’s Children’s Council. The source of the clothing, she added, is what makes the event unique and interesting.

“You can really put together some nice outfits at these shops,” she said, noting that “the models are going to run from [ages] 7-70, or 8-80; it’s going to be a very wide range.” 

The clothing will be donated once again after the show, this time to “Blessed to be a Blessing” — a church outreach ministry established in 2010. The program started as a way to help families in need obtain gently used fall and winter clothing. St. Luke has reported serving more than 100 people in a one-day giveaway that year, and in October of 2011, that number grew to 250 recipients. 

Last year, a reported 500 shopping bags were distributed — filled with men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.

Aside from the annual giveaway, the church maintains a clothing closet to meet emergency needs, which also contains limited supplies of school supplies, personal hygiene kits and toiletries.   

According to Cindy Gay, St. Luke’s coordinator of children’s ministry and music, “we’re developing a permanent room so we can not only have the fall outreach event, but we can help people throughout the year.”

Added Children’s Council member Terri Kirkman, “by fundraising, we’ll have more assets so if there’s an immediate need, we’ll be able to provide that.” 

As for a fiscal target, Gay said, “We really don’t have a goal in mind” beyond supporting the ministry. 

“We do have people not able to attend, but who have made donations anyway because they know what it’s going for,” she said.

Tickets to the event are $10 apiece and will be available at the door. The price includes a meal provided by United Methodist Women volunteers. All proceeds will go toward the ministry.