Opportunities created from a gift

Community Featured

Summer Street is putting on the glitz with what the fashion design industry calls a wedding and prom trunk sale on Saturday, Oct. 19.

It is a gala event that actually begins Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. with a viewing, fashion show and cocktail hour but no purchases. The sale, with deeply discounted prices and improvised dressing rooms, will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the next day.

At the heart of the event is a generous donation by Dorothy Lodge who operated Sure Stitch and Inspirations Bridal in downtown New Glasgow for 38 years. As Lodge was closing her doors, she turned her inventory of hundreds of dresses for brides, mothers of the bride, bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids, flower girls and proms over to Summer Street as a charitable donation.

“I’m just delighted with what Summer Street is doing,” Lodge said. “I thought it could be a win-win situation for both of us but I never imagined the wonderful ripple effects we’re feeling.”

Liz LaPier, Summer Street’s social enterprise manager, first thought Lodge was offering her a few dresses for the organization’s New Beginnings store which operates in the Summer Street premises.

“I quickly realized this was much, much bigger than our store could handle. I didn’t immediately know what we were going to do with such a large donation but I knew we had an amazing opportunity and with Dorothy’s help, we’d come up with a plan,” she said.

Summer Street works with people with intellectual disabilities to create opportunities in the community for training, employment and experiences so Lodge’s donation has delivered in spades.

“The dresses have provided many hours of employment from transporting them, to building racks to store them, to actually hanging them and taking inventory,” said LaPier.

She added Riverview Home Corporation helped out by building still more racks and creating extra storage space at its location.

“Anytime we can partner with another agency, there is an increased benefit to the community,” said LaPier.

Plans for the trunk sale have grown to include almost everyone at Summer Street.

“This is something quite new for us to be working with such elegant dresses — and so many of them. They’ve already brought a lot of joy and excitement,” said LaPier, noting the dresses are valued at tens of thousands of dollars.

Both Summer Street and Lodge hope many of the dresses will go to brides and families who might not otherwise have been able to afford them. They have already provided one to a client of another agency.

“She was getting married and did not have a very big budget so she came and found the dress she wanted with us. She went home very happy,” said LaPier.

In addition to setting up and catering the event, some of Summer Street’s participants are looking forward to taking part in the Friday night fashion show.

“I’m so pleased they are excited about it. I’m going to come and do their makeup for them,” said Lodge, who continues to work as a Mary Kay beauty advisor and as a seamstress.

Through the years she has been part of many bridal shows at Summer Street and has always regarded it as a wonderful wedding venue.

“I feel I’ve come full circle and I’m so pleased that the gowns have brought happiness to Summer Street and will bring more happiness with the sale,” she said.

Summer Street executive director Bob Bennett credited Lodge’s donation with providing valuable employment and new work experience for clients.

“It is a very generous donation that has benefited us in so many ways, including employment and work experience and we’re going to be able to help the community, as well.”

More Trunk Sale details are available on Summer Street’s Facebook page.

“If you are in a position to give a gift, please consider Summer Street or any of the other worthy, community-minded organizations in Pictou County. As with Dorothy Lodge, your kindness and thoughtfulness can really make a difference,” Bennett encouraged.

For more information contact bob@summerstreet.ca or go to our website, summerstreet.ca.

Dorothy Lodge, left, holds up a wedding gown for measurement with Liz LaPier, Summer Street’s manager of Social Enterprises. Lodge, who operated Sure Stitch and Inspirations Bridal in downtown New Glasgow, has donated dresses for a prom and wedding dress trunk sale on Oct. 18. (Submitted photo)