A home away from home for many sick youngsters will benefit from funds raised through Fashion Extravaganza 2006 this weekend.
Saturday's fundraiser will be held at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion from 3-4:30 p.m. and is being sponsored by Brittany's House of Elegance. The show will feature pageant queens serving as models of the latest styles in prom and pageant apparel. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at the door. Each young woman who attends will receive a gift certificate to Brittany's House of Elegance.
"These fundraisers are vital to the operating budget for the Ronald McDonald House," said Shannon Powell, the director of marketing for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta. "We act as a bed-and-breakfast, if you will, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to 10 families each day. The operating costs can be overwhelming."
Powell, who as a child stayed in the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House while receiving medical treatment at Egleston Children's Hospital, said last year's Fashion Extravaganza raised $1,300 for the RMCHA.
This year's fundraiser will feature area pageant queens, including Miss Augusta, Miss South Carolina USA, Miss Teen Georgia International, Miss Aiken and area high school and college models.
"We'll be modeling more than 200 pieces of the most current styles available, with a special segment dedicated to our fantastic markdowns," said Brittany's House of Elegance co-owner Charlene Bagwell. The show will feature social, prom and pageant gowns; interview suits; cocktail dresses; and designer sportswear.
The program also will include entertainment, door prizes and a silent auction. Each attendee can register to win The Dream Prom Package, which is valued at more than $800 and includes a gown, jewelry, shoes, tuxedo rental, limousine and more.
Bagwell and daughter, Brittany Bagwell, also a co-owner of the business, are longtime supporters of the Ronald McDonald House.
"We plan to make it the premiere annual event in the CSRA showcasing all the latest fashions for young women while making a difference in someone's life at the same time," Brittany Bagwell said. "What could be better?"
Powell said that since opening in 1984, the Ronald McDonald House of Augusta has served more than 6,000 out-of-town families with seriously ill children or injured children receiving treatment at area hospitals. The house served more than 450 families in 2005 alone.
"Each day the need grows," Powell said.
The Ronald McDonald House offers affordable, convenient housing and accommodates as many as 10 families each night. The only criteria for a family needing to stay in the house is that they live more than 50 miles from the area hospitals and be referred by a hospital or physician. Residents are asked to contribute a nominal amount for lodging, usually between $2 and $10 per night, but no one is ever turned away for inability to pay. Residents are never asked to pay for any foods, laundry or services provided at the house.
"The fees we receive cover less than 3 percent of our annual operating budget," Powell said. "Additionally, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta supports various programs and scholarships that help many children right here in the CSRA."
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