Port Chester, NY Nearly 70 underprivileged girls, ranging in age from 9 to 18 along with a few teenaged moms, found their way to GIRL-TOPIA on Saturday at the Port Chester Girl Scout House for a free shopping spree. Organized by Deborah Blatt, Program Coordinator of the Sharing Shelf of Family Services of Westchester (FSW) along with New Rochelle High School Senior Caroline Stoerger, GIRL-TOPIA attracted tweens and teens from Yonkers to Peekskill, Port Chester to Ossining. Initial estimates show that 1,700 items of clothing, 70 coats and more than 100 pairs of shoes were distributed to the attendees, who left smiling with their shopping bags full of jeans, sweaters and such fun accessories as belts, scarves and hats.
I was moved to tears when I saw these teenaged girls shopping with their Moms or their Big Sister mentors, notes Gerry Goldberg, Director of Volunteers and Development Outreach for FSW. One mother told Goldberg and Blatt that her daughter owned only one pair of jeans. She left GIRL-TOPIA with three more pairs of jeans, a coat, shirts and sweaters. Two volunteers from Anthopologie, including store manager Kelly Bentley, provided fashion advice and morphed into tailors when necessary, using a sewing machine to alter jeans to fit girls of varying heights. About a half dozen girls from Carolines New Rochelle Girl Scout Troop 1856 spent the day helping their friend organize clothes, check out the customers, and decorate the Girl Scout House. Caroline worked with Blatt and FSWs Sharing Shelf to help organize GIRL-TOPIA in an effort to obtain her Gold Award, the highest achievement for a Girl Scout.
We were thrilled with the success of this event, notes Blatt. It was a fun way to help these teenaged girls handpick the clothes they need and want, and we were delighted by the support of some retailers and volunteers. Blatt hopes to organize another GIRL-TOPIA event in January.
About FSWs Sharing Shelf:
Founded by New Rochelle resident Deborah Blatt and Family Services of Westchester in 2009, The Sharing Shelf collects new and gently used childrens clothing, then distributes the items to more than 1,800 needy children a year, at no cost to the children or their families. Each month, volunteers assemble more than 1,000 outfits for at least 150 children and teens, providing each child a week of seasonally appropriate clothing. Blatt partners with more than 25 agencies, programs, schools and hospitals county-wide to distribute the clothing. To volunteer or make a financial or clothing donation to FSWs Sharing Shelf, contact Deborah Blatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 355-9121.