Video Story by Maria Martinez
Audio story by Emily Grant
Photos by Autumn Bernhard
Hands of Hope hosted their annual Tea ‘N More at the Price Center on March 25. This is their annual fundraiser where ladies come together for tea, snacks, a fashion show and silent auction. Tickets were available with a suggested donation of $20.
Lovely is the perfect definition of Hands of Hope annual fundraiser, Tea ‘N More. The menu included scones, sandwiches, cookies and tea. All the money raised through ticket sales and sponsorships go to covering all costs for women to attend Hands of Hope educational sessions.
Hands of Hope is a faith-based, educational ministry targeting under-educated and disadvantaged women, teaching them life and employment skills. The ministry conducts two 10-week sessions each year, providing a broad curriculum of life skills and pre-job training.
Each of the more than two dozen tables is decorated by a different person. It is their responsibility to provide table linens, dishes, silver and flowers for their table. This year, there were 17 different table hostesses.
Beverly Marek (left), a Hands of Hope volunteer, has attending Tea ‘N More for two years. She, along with many other volunteers, decorate each table with their own tea sets. Both years she brought her daughter, MaKayla (right), so they can have a “fancy” day to themselves. “We like to do tea, with our pinkies,” Beverly said.
Having a tea party as an annual fundraiser gives all the women a chance to dress up from head to toe and enjoy being a woman. Many of the women haven’t have an opportunity to attend such an elegant event before.
MaKayla Marek, 10 years old, was one of the youngest in attendance at Tea ‘N More. Her favorite part of the event is the tea and food. However, there is one downside. “I don’t really care about the dressing up that much,” she said.
Maddison Brewster models some of Chico’s spring styles at Tea ‘N More. This is the fifth year in a row that Chico’s produced a fashion show for the event. “These ladies are friends, the rapport with them is great and they are loyal customers,” said Michelle Taylor, Chico’s San Marcos manager. “Plus this is a great cause.”
“What I love most about the Tea is it feels like a fun throwback to the 50’s,” said Charlotte Evans, lead coordinator of Hands of Hope. “The ladies who attend wear big, decorative hats and dress like people did in that era when they would attend church or a wedding.”
When Maria Cordero (right) first took courses at Hands of Hope, she was unable to read. The volunteers found her a tutor who worked with her individually and now she is able to read. She was asked to come back for a second semester and she brought her daughter, Rachel (left). “I’ve been loving Hands of Hope more the second semester,” Maria said. “I wish we were never finished. We are enjoying it together.”
Once the tea ran out, the ladies started heading home concluding Hands of Hope annual Tea ‘N More.