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Fashion show Saturday will benefit St. Vincent de Paul
Models donate their clothes, sold at auction after show
Anna Bourbeau is shown wearing her evening cocktail dress which she will be modeling at the fashion show benefit for St. Vincent de Paul Society on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. All clothes modeled at the fashion show will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Society. Outfits that don’t get sold will be donated to the organization. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
It’s a fashion show like no other.

The models who will be strutting their stuff are grandmothers with their grandchildren, mothers and their children, along with a few young men.

The clothes that they will be showing off are “gently used” outfits from their own closets. After the show, the clothes that they modeled won’t be going back to their wardrobe. They will be put on the auction block during the program to be held from 10 a.m. to noon this Saturday, May 1, in the St. Anthony’s School gym.

Money raised from the auction will be donated to St. Vincent de Paul Society. If the clothes don’t get sold, they will be donated to St. Vincent de Paul. So it’s a win-win situation either way for the all-volunteer charitable organization affiliated with St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca which, for more than three decades, has been ministering to those in need of emergency assistance such as food, clothing, and other basic necessities.

This unique fashion show fund-raiser is a community project of the Anthony’s Angels youth group. Diane Lehman, the coordinator of the group made up of students from fourth to 12th grade, said this unusual fashion show benefit was inspired by a comment made recently by St. Vincent de Paul volunteer Mary McCleary.

“Somebody came in one day (at the St. Vincent de Paul donation center) with this cute sun dress,” Lehman said.

Looking at the attractive and comfortable outfit, McCleary made the comment that she would love to wear the sun dress.

One comment led to another, and pretty soon they were talking about staging a fashion show benefit for the organization, Lehman said.

Volunteer models would choose two outfits from their personal wardrobe to wear on the ramp – one dressy and one casual – with the understanding that their clothes would be either sold at auction or donated to St. Vincent de Paul in the absence of a buyer.

All models would be responsible for their own accessories – e. g. shoes, necklace, earrings, bracelets and the like – and will not be auctioned off with the clothes.

Admission to the show is $5 per person. Admission fee will “include coffee, iced tea, dessert, and a whole lot of fun.”

Robert Bassett, a  high school student who is part of the band that plays and sings at the Sunday evening Teen Mass, will provide the music for the fashion show. Serving as escorts for the models will be the male members of St. Vincent de Paul Society.

As of Tuesday, Lehman said they have 20 kids, boys as well as girls, who will be taking part in the fashion show. For many of them, this will be a family affair. Anna Bourbeau, for one, will be joined on the fashion ramp by her daughter and two granddaughters. Her husband, Paul, will be among those escorting the models.

Lehman said everyone is excited about this unique family-oriented fun event.

“It’s neat because the kids are giving of themselves,” she said.

Anthony’s Angels is a youth service group. “They do all sorts of service projects in the community,” Lehman said.

At the French Camp Haven of Peace respite home for women and their children, they painted the office and helped clean up the place. They also conduct coat and blanket drives during the year especially around the holidays, and assist at Sister Ann’s luncheon parties for area seniors.

The Anthony’s Angels have also made rosaries which were distributed to Catholic Iraqi refugees in San Diego. A sleepover in the school gym raised $600 for HOPE Family Ministries in Manteca. Most recently, they published a cookbook which they are currently selling for $8 apiece as part of their ongoing fund-raiser. “A Taste of Heaven” is a compilation of “unique” recipes shared by parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua.

Anthony’s Angels was introduced to St. Anthony’s by Father Joseph Illo when he was assistant pastor in Manteca. He modeled it from a similar youth group with the same name that he started while serving at St. Anne’s Parish in Lodi. After he was assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish in Modesto, where he is currently the pastor, the youth group at St. Anthony’s gradually fell into inactivity. A few years ago, it was reorganized with an entirely new group formed under the leadership of Lehman.

Tickets to the fashion show can be purchased at the church office, 505 E. North Street, or call 823-7197 for further details.