Dress for Success gears up for largest fundraiser

BY EVAN BUHLER

Red Deer Express

The Central Alberta chapter of Dress For Success will be hosting a fundraising luncheon and silent auction at the Black Knight Inn on May 26th.

Tickets for the event will be available for purchase until May 21st, and will be sold at a cost of $45.

“What we do in a nutshell is work with ladies that are referred to us, typically involved in an employment program, and we provide them with business clothing for interviews and job searches,” said Dagmar Hargreaves, president of Dress For Success Central Alberta.

Since 2009, Dress For Success has been operating solely on the generosity of donations from the community and a few local clothing stores.

Hargreaves said they rely on fundraisers held through out the year to maintain their operating costs.

In addition to the fundraiser, Dress For Success also hosts a spring/fall clothing sale with the donated clothes that were unable to be utilized as business attire.

“Our needs are small because we all volunteer, we have no paid staff, it’s totally volunteering, but we do have operational costs,” said Hargreaves.

Rent and insurance for their small boutique and affiliation fees are the largest operational costs associated with keeping the program afloat.

Dress For Success has helped hundreds of women over the past four years. In order to grow and increase the number of women they help, Hargreaves wants to be able to utilize basic necessitates for running the program such as office supplies, Internet access, a vacuum and a steamer for the clothes.

“Our needs are big, but our wishes are small.”

As this is the largest fundraiser that Dress For Success hosts, Hargreaves will be looking for enough money for Dress for Success to remain an important and growing program in the community.

Last year Dress For Success was able to raise $4,300 at their sold-out fundraiser.

This year, at a larger venue Hargreaves is hopeful that they will be able to out do their total from last year.

An Elvis impersonator will provide entertainment, while patrons can bid on a wide variety of products available in the silent auction.

The backbone of Dress For Success is their dedicated staff of volunteers who pick up donations, interact with clients, sort clothing, and hold down full-time jobs in the meantime.

“We are so fortunate, because we have wonderful volunteers.”

Even with the amount of time that volunteers put in there is still availability for more volunteers to help out, said Hargreaves.

She added she would like to have a group of ladies that are retired or not working, whom would like to volunteer at the boutique accepting donations, sorting clothes or creating a database of their clients.

“I do believe that we are making a significant contribution in the community, evidence of that is that we get so many referrals to help women.”

Hargreaves said one of the greatest rewards of the work she does is seeing previous clients come back to volunteer their time to the program.

“What better statement is there when someone says you did so good for me, I just want to give back.”

Contact Dagmar Hargreaves for more information about the fundraiser or to make donations at 403-302-7777 or visit www.dressforsuccess.org.

reporter@reddeerexpress.com

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