Proudly running his hand down a finely striped tie, New Hope Community Life Ministry executive director Neil Uniacke boasted, "I'm wearing thrifted threads."
"So am I, even my shoes," added Beth Tyson, manager of the Community Closet Thrift Store, which is part of New Hope.
Proceeds from the Community Closet, 128 TownsEdge Drive, Quarryville, support New Hope's mission to provide quality counseling for a variety of needs with a faith-based perspective regardless of the client's ability to pay. The ministry is headquartered at 248-A Maple Ave., Quarryville. The thrift store also donates a portion of its proceeds to other local nonprofit organizations.
"We make a serious effort to put out very nice items," Tyson said.
Uniacke concurred, relating that he had bought two brand-new dress shirts still in their plastic packaging at the Community Closet the previous week. "We have an incredible gem of a thrift store," he said. "You can save a lot of money and get really nice stuff."
While the racks and shelves are full of items in good condition, Tyson has been holding back a few select pieces in preparation for the ministry's annual fashion show. The event will be held on Saturday, April 6, at Refton Brethren in Christ Church, 110 Church St., Refton. The doors will open at 5 p.m., and the buffet will open for dinner around 5:45 p.m.
A silent auction will run during the evening, with additional opportunities to win door prizes and themed baskets. Tyson has been setting aside donations for the auction, and sponsors have contributed other things. Auction highlights will include gift certificates to local businesses and attractions, jewelry, handbags, handmade chocolate, local designer pottery, a rhinestone-encrusted domed cake plate, a hat tree, and a trip to the state Capitol with Rep. Bryan Cutler.
The highlight of the event, however, will be the fashion show. Tyson has planned for four groups of clothing, and the names of prize and auction winners will be announced between each group. An emphasis will be placed on spring wardrobes. The categories of attire will include casualwear, business/dressy, formalwear in a spectrum of colors, and bridal. Tyson noted that four bridal gowns have been donated to the Community Closet recently, and she plans to showcase them on April 6.
"They're not $4,000 gowns, but with a little bit of embellishment, the practical bride might do very well with (one of them)," Tyson remarked, noting that the gowns have been cleaned. One young lady has already claimed one for her own wedding, but it will still appear in the fashion show.
Practically everything that will be worn in the show has been donated to the thrift store. Tyson would like to borrow one very specific item, however. "I'm looking for a pair of indigo blue cowboy boots around a size 8," she said. "We have a bit of a cowgirl flavor (for at least one outfit)."
Close to 15 models appeared in the show last year, and Tyson anticipates approximately that many this year. New Hope counselor and board member Elaine Campbell will reprise her role on the runway. Other women and men of distinct ages and sizes will participate in the show. Tyson praised one woman in her 80s for her ongoing support of New Hope and her flair as a model. "She's a real showstopper," Tyson commented.
Tickets are required for admission to the fashion show, and they must be purchased by Monday, April 1. Folks may call New Hope at 717-786-2802 to order tickets.
Uniacke noted that while he plans to attend the fashion show, he will be there as a New Hope supporter, not as an employee. Beginning April 1, Uniacke will be working as a bereavement counselor with Hospice & Community Care in York County. He has led New Hope for seven-and-a-half years. The board of directors is accepting applications for Uniacke's successor.
For more information about New Hope and the Community Closet, readers may visit http://www.newhopeministry.info.