Charity never goes out of style

Celebrity fashion show introduces many to The Salvation Army.

Miss World 2007, Diane Tucker, models an outfit during the Encore! fashion show in Tucson, Ariz.

Over 45 models and 200 students, celebrities, families and fashionistas came together on a recent Sunday to shop and enjoy high tea at The Salvation Army’s 4th Annual ENCORE! Celebrity Fashion Show—an annual spring event to raise money and donations for The Salvation Army’s women and children’s programs and the adult rehabilitation center.

The event brings together young professionals and society guests—many introduced for the first time to The Salvation Army and its programs. It draws attention not only to donating second-hand items to The Salvation Army but also to shopping there. Following the show, the Designer Discount Boutique features gently used designer clothing, shoes and accessories at $5, $10 or $20, and generates about 70 per cent of the funds raised.

“It’s amazing to see the number of models on the runway who buy their outfits,” said Tamara McElwee, event director and public relations director for the Army’s Southwest Division. “This year’s Chic Boutique had a line waiting to get in and even a few gentleman haggling over some Armani slacks!”

Tucson radio and TV media outlets covered the event. Among the fashion show models were local media celebrities and film actors, including former professional baseball World Series champion, Ed Vosberg, and professional models, Mrs. World 2007, Diane Tucker, and Arizona’s Top Model winner, Andrea Tate.

McElwee created and held the first ENCORE! in 2005, modeling it after other successful Salvation Army fashion shows. She saw ENCORE! “as a way to introduce new populations to The Salvation Army and to create a stronger bond with local media and business, while drawing attention to The Salvation Army thrift stores and the importance of donating and recycling used goods.”

“The success of ENCORE! has been amazing,” said McElwee. “We almost have to turn away models each year; they have so much fun at the show.” The community networking is another highlight—when we can offer an event that puts a smile on everyone’s face and raises funds and awareness for the most needy in our community, we have a win-win situation. ENCORE! is truly a testament to the community working together!”

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