New Albany News

New Albany fashion show to benefit homeless shelter

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Shayla Hensel walks down the catwalk during last year's New Albany Women's Network's Annual Fashion Show on March 12, 2011, at the New Albany Country Club.

The 2012 New Albany Women's Network Fashion Show will benefit the YWCA Family Center of Columbus, an organization that has served 40 percent more homeless families this year than it did in 2011.

"A lot of people think the economy is starting to get better," said Patti O'Toole, the family center's communications director. "But nonprofits tend to lag two to three years behind the economy."

The family center on Harvey Court, just off East Fifth Avenue in Columbus, was built to house 50 homeless families and help them find permanent housing within 20 days.

When there are more families than beds, O'Toole said, the center sets up cots in public spaces and tries to place dividers between families to give them some privacy.

She said homelessness typically peaks in the summer and by fall and winter, families have found housing.

But this year is different.

"Our numbers are continuing to grow this year," she said.

O'Toole said between Jan. 1 and June 21, 2010, the family center served 322 families; during the same period in 2011, it served 389 families.

This year, the family center served 544 families in the first six months and it has had up to 120 families at one time.

That's why the New Albany Women's Network, a nonprofit organization that focuses on women's and children's needs, made the YWCA Family Center the beneficiary of its 13th annual fashion show fundraiser.

The fashion show will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Winding Hollow Golf Club, 6140 Babbitt Road in New Albany. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at

The show typically is held in the spring, but NAWN members decided to move it to November this year.

"It's more holiday-related this year," event co-chair Cheri Lehmann said. "We will have a focus on holiday wear and winter wear, and winter fashions."

NAWN seeks out local clothing vendors to provide the latest fashions and local women serve as the models, Lehmann said.

The event includes lunch and a silent auction, featuring everything from tickets to the Ohio State-Michigan football game to personal training and teeth-whitening sessions.

The NAWN board chooses a charity each year to benefit from the event, Lehmann said.

O'Toole said the family center appreciates the support. Last year's fashion show raised more than $20,000 for charity.

"We are a well-supported center and we appreciate groups like this reaching out to help us," she said.

O'Toole said the funds will help pay heating and grocery bills and support the staff members who operate the center.

For more information about the family center, visit


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