“Women of Inspiration” was the theme of the 10th annual K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers luncheon at The Pierre Hotel, which honored three executive women Tuesday and was attended by 380 people.
Louise Camuto, chief creative officer of Camuto Group; Claudia Stern, intimate buyer for Gabriel Brothers, and Luanne Whiting-Lager, vice president, chief financial officer of Regal Lager Inc., were the three honorees at the luncheon, which was hosted by Alison Morris, Fox 5 business reporter.
For 2015, K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers has raised $140 million in new product donations from 405 companies. Over $315,000 was raised at the luncheon.
As part of the event, Rachel Larratt, a South Carolina community activist, described what happened in her state last October, when it was completely flooded. “There were 20 inches of rain and people lost homes and everything they owned. Water poured into their homes and covered the neighborhood,” she said. After they boarded up homes, they were faced with the question, “Now what?” People needed socks, underwear and T-shirts and K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers donated $1.9 million in new product to help the 3,500 flood survivors get back on their feet. K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers opened up a free pop-up store in the area.
Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C., who attended the luncheon, thanked the charity for the help it provided the survivors and gave the charity’s co-chairmen a key to the city. “Twelve trillion gallons of water fell on the Carolinas this fall,” he said. He thanked K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers for their “wonderful support.” Throughout its 31-year history, the charity has donated $1.3 billion in merchandise to needy families. “You guys are making a huge difference in the lives of so many,” said Benjamin.
All three of the honorees described heart-warming visits to several different charities that receive much-needed support from K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers. Camuto, for example, described a visit to Bottomless Closet, which provides disadvantaged women with interview clothes. “Bottomless Closet give the women a chance to change their lives,” she said. She said that K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers “impacts real lives and people impacted by poverty.”
“Distributing foundations and sleepwear to people in need is a lovely way for our industry to give back,” said Stern, who made a trip to New Alternatives for Children, a group that helps 1,400 medically fragile children avoid foster care and institutions and keeps them at home, providing them with new apparel, books and toys.
“I’m a firm believer that giving to others heals your soul,” said Whiting-Lager, who visited Kamileon’s Kloset in Atlanta, which helps men and women seek employment and offers life coaching and workshops.
At the end of the luncheon, Broadway Youth Ensemble entertained the crowd, receiving a standing ovation.