The girls of the PACE center in Immokalee had the time of their lives on September 7.
The annual Love That Dress fundraiser for the program for underprivileged girls brought in more dresses and more donations than expected.
Held at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, over 400 people attended the event. According to Executive Director, Marianne Kearns, “Smiling friends of PACE were dancing in the halls to music while others were shopping for quality dresses.”
Dresses were donated en masse by individuals, but the greatest contributor wasthe upscale clothing store, White House Black Market. “The amount of dresses donated by White House Black Market surpassed years past and were the hit of the event,” adds Kearns.
Other individual businesses donated over 60 items for the silent auction held during the dress event.
Lightly used brand name dresses were sold throughout the day, marked at only $10, $20, $30 and $40. Certainly a bargain, ladies shopped away without feeling the guilt of spending frivolously. Not only did they find great steals, but they knew they were supportinga greater cause.
The PACE Center in Immokalee gives nearly 60 girls the chance to excel beyond the circle of poverty that many of their families cannot escape. Ninety-eight percent of children in the area receive free or reduced lunch which means their family’s income is below the national poverty level. This makes it critical to reach out to these girls, ensuring they graduate from high school, stay away from drugs and other destructive paths and have a safe place to go, where they learn independent living skills, careerpreparation and more.
“Every dress counts,” adds Kearns, “and this year we collected over 3,000!” With plenty to choose from, many left the event with multiple dresses in hand. Those that are not sold are brought to the PACE girls so they may have a chance to pick out something nice for themselves – a true treat for the girls who have felt the sting of having to do without some of the simplest things – food, shelter and, of course, clothing.
To learn more about the PACE Center for Girls visit www.pacecenter.org.