NCNW Big Fashion Fundraiser, Honors Outstanding Women
by Dianne Anderson
Thanks to this year’s big fashion fundraiser, the Long Beach Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is teaming up with local community supporters to help take care of hundreds of needy women and children with food, clothes and resources.
Alice Pitts, president of the local NCNW, said that several goals are on target to sustain their important programs, and an upcoming Fashion Luncheon will help infuse some badly needed funds to keep local efforts going strong.
“This is our 28th year with the fashion show; it’s a luncheon, and it’s going to be really good. We raise funds so we can operate during the year,” she said.
On Saturday, April 21, NCNW is inviting the community to their 28th annual Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show under the theme “Recognizing the Past, Harnessing the Present, Envisioning the Future.” The event, starting at 11:30 a.m. and ending at 3:00 p.m., will be held at The Centre at Sycamore Center, located at 5000 Clark Ave, Lakewood. Donations are $65.
One of their best efforts, among many, is their work with the Bethune Transitional Center at Villages at Cabrillo for homeless veterans and their families.
Over the years, she said they have actively supported the Bethune school, helping with shoes, jackets, backpacks with supplies. One of the NCNW ladies knitted about a dozen sweaters during the course of the year.
“When they need something, they give us a call, we’ll raise the funds. We also help Women's Transitional House here in the city. We donate clothing, and do fundraising for that,” she said.
Typically, the group tries to network and partner with local fraternities and sororities, where they help support each other’s efforts.
But besides volunteerism and good old sweat equity, not to mention the motherly nurturing that the women give back to their community, she said there is also another benefit to joining the organization. NCNW members can access a vast amount of opportunities and network capital within their professional careers, and mentoring help for new members.
Pitts said that her aunt was the first president of Long Beach NCNW, which was chartered in 1966. Over time, she realized the need, and wanted to give back in the same way to the community. Her focus as a whole for the organizations is still centered on education, health and economic empowerment.
“A lot of good things are going on with food and housing, meeting basic needs is so important in the community,” said Ms. Pitts.
Every third Saturday of the month, members come together to strategize their list of concerns, and how to get resources to those who need it most. The local chapter has about 120 members meeting at Long Beach Antioch Church; many come out to meet from 12:30 to 2:30 to talk about community outreach and new events. Last year, they also held successful Town Hall meetings for local congressional candidates.
Many members also get busy during Christmastime. Last holiday season, NCNW helped provide food not just for Christmas dinner, but they were able to carry many families through the holidays with extra food and clothes.
“This year, I think we helped 125 families. Last year, there were almost 200,” Ms. Pitts said. “We have a clothing giveaway at this time, and each year visit a different senior center.”
For their outstanding role in helping the community, this year three members will be honored for going above and beyond the call of duty. All three have served numerous posts and responsibility over the years. Zina Bourda, also past president, has been a devoted NCNW member for 15 years. Stephenie Wright, a 22-year NCNW lifetime member, hails from New Orleans, and holds her degree in Political Science and Black Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Denise Hayes, current secretary, chairs the Christmas Food and Toy Drive.
For information and tickets, contact Marsha Chapman at 562-989- 0353.