CRESTVIEW — An afternoon of tea and fashion has garnered new volunteers and money for Covenant Hospice.
The annual A Day at the Derby Fashion Spree and Tea on April 27 attracted more than 50 area women, raised $1,600 and recruited Blue Jean Ball fundraiser committee volunteers and a new hostess for next year's tea, organizers said.
Eight women served as tea hostesses, transforming the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall into a tea parlor. Each hostess decorated her table, selected teas and refreshments and served her guests.
Though hostesses also offered donations — some as much as $500 — to Covenant Hospice, fundraising was not the tea's main purpose.
"It's more of a friend-raiser than a fundraiser, because what we're able to do is exponentially reach out to the hostesses' friends and use their connections," Covenant Hospice development manager Jenni Perkins said.
Tea, fashion and hats
The annual Kentucky Derby-themed event was the brainchild of Covenant volunteer Bonnie Grundel.
"When you use nice china, whether it be old or new, you get the sense that you need to be gentle and slow in your movements and actions," she said. "Your conversation tends to follow suit."
A Churchill Downs backdrop, painted by former Laurel Hill School art teacher Sabine Lyons, helped set the theme.
As the women sipped tea and nibbled sandwiches and baked goods, volunteer models paraded Red Raspberry Boutique’s spring fashions.
"One of my favorite charities is Covenant Hospice,” boutique owner Donna Howard said. “I have personally seen their dedication in providing compassionate care to patients and their loved ones during times of life-limiting illnesses."
Hannah Bray, 5, won an award for wearing the best hat.
Grundel and her co-hostess, Delilah Lewis, won the best table décor award for their cherub vase with greenery, 19th-century china and tea served from an antique teacart.
"The wonderful thing about this event is it's a nice, quiet intimate time," Perkins said. "We ... get to know each other better and have those meaningful conversations you can't have at bigger, louder events."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.