By Kelly Allen | October 21, 2009
OVIEDO – A different kind of fashion show is hitting the First United Methodist Church of Oviedo as The Vine Outreach Thrift Store puts its used clothing on the runway.
Models young and old – comprised of the Vine’s volunteers and customers – will strut their stuff Oct. 24 in outfits selected by the Vine. All the clothes will be donated items found in the thrift store.
This may not be your typical high-fashion, big-dollar fundraising event, but that’s not really the Vine’s style.
Oneida Rodriguez, a volunteer for The Vine for two years, said this event is for the whole community.
“This fundraiser is different all around,” she said. “The ones participating are just average people, they’re not high-fashion models. They’re everyday people who walked in the store.
“Everybody is going to get a personal and spiritual reward by participating.”
Not only will people from the community get to participate in the show, but the community will also benefit from it. While tickets to the show cost $10, prizes and gift certificates will be given out throughout the event and clothing from The Vine will be available for half price, Rodriguez said.
There will also be refreshments, vendors and live music, as well as a live and silent auction. Among other items, you can bid on the outfits worn on the runway.
The proceeds from the event will go to The Forgotten Ones, The Vine’s ministry that helps all those in need, but specifically aims to reach “aging out” foster kids – people ages 18-24 who have no one and no where to go.
Founder Cindy Cook gained a passion for this age group while volunteering as Guardian ad Litem with Seminole County for 11 years.
According to the Guardian ad Litem Web site, a Guardian ad Litem is a volunteer appointed by the court to protect the rights and advocate the best interests of a child involved in a court proceeding.
Cook worked mostly with teens, and she is still in contact with many of the teens she helped. She said she sees a special need in teens and young adults.
“They break my heart, they’re so lost,” she said. “Especially that age. if you don’t help them, then they go to jail, especially the foster kids because they’re out there and they don’t have support or mentors.
“There are just so many kids out there that need guidance. It’s such a vulnerable time, and the world just sucks them in. We could change so many lives if we help them with prayer, advice, mentoring and spiritual awareness.”
Eventually, Cook hopes to open a ranch where she can provide more assistance to young people in need. She is working with a grant writer to get the funds for the project.
But in the mean time, The Vine and The Forgotten Ones help as much as they can. Cook said one man who came to volunteer in the store was almost 70 years old and didn’t know how to read. The Vine set him up with a tutor. He is helping at the store, but now he knows how to read. The outreach also threw him the first birthday party he’s ever had.
“The Forgotten Ones can be anyone that has needs,” Cook said. “Someone who walks in and just needs a hug and we talk with them and pray with them.”
Rodriguez said that spirit of outreach is what makes her want to volunteer at The Vine.
“It’s something in my heart to volunteer for a good cause,” she said. “I feel that there’s a need in the community for more than just a thrift shop.
“We’ve got hundreds of thrift shops. What makes us different is we have outreach programs and a vision of doing something bigger for the community and those in need.”
The Vine also helps by providing free lunch and groceries the last Saturday of each month at The Vine at 98 W. Broadway St., Oviedo. All are welcome, whether you need a free meal or want to learn how you can help.
There are all kinds of ways to volunteer, including mentoring, cashiering, organizing donations and more. But the outreach also needs help in the form of donations.
“We give the things we want to give, but we also have to pay the rent and the overhead and do all that, so we need support in doing all this to help them,” Cook said.
The Vine and The Forgotten Ones’ Evening of Fashion will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Oviedo, 263 King St., Oviedo. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 407-971-8135 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org