It was a night of deals for shoppers at the Barn Theatre at Winthrop, the venue for this year's ECHO Trunk Show for gently worn designer apparel and accessories.
The annual affair was started after volunteers at the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) in Brandon noticed a good number of upscale items donated to the food bank and clothes closet.
ECHO accepts from the community donations of clothes and household furnishings, as well as non-perishable food items, such as canned tuna, boxed spaghetti and jars of applesauce. With proceeds raised at monthly thrift sales, at ECHO's headquarters on Parsons Avenue in Brandon, volunteers in turn can purchase perishable items, such as milk and cheese, for people in need.
The ongoing thrift sales, along with this month's designer trunk show, are a way, too, to lessen the inventory that sometimes builds up over time. Moreso, however, it is a chance to raise extra funds for ECHO's mission to help people who fall on hard times because of emergency situations.
Stacey Efaw is the long-time director of ECHO, which recently deepened and extended its mission with the opening of a client service center.
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Efaw said she was heartened by the strong turnout for the ECHO Trunk Show.
"At 5:20 p.m. we had a line out the door," she said. "We have a lot of people interested in helping ECHO and that is great."
Great, too, is the need. According to Efaw, ECHO serves about 11,000 people annually, including about 300 families monthly.
"It's nice to have the show at a big venue like this," Efaw added, noting the contribution of space by John and Kay Sullivan, the founders of the Winthrop community in the Greater Brandon area of Riverview. "It's a fun event, too, because women like to shop and they could find upscale, designer items here, sometimes for under $10."
Even better, she said, "all the money goes to help us buy food for the holidays, such as turkey, milk and eggs."