NORWAY – People of all ages gathered Nov. 11 at the Oxford Lodge to enjoy “Food, Fun & Foolishness” to benefit Christmas for Kids and Teens, a Right Start program that ensures a happy holiday season for hundreds of Oxford Hills families.

The fashion and gift show, sponsored by the Norway Business Association, was revived after an eight-year absence.

L.F. Pike’s, Lola’s Boutique, New Balance and Cattail’s Cards and Gifts donated clothing and accessories for the event. “It’s been about eight years since the last time we did this,” said Lesley Gouin, vice president of the business association. “Now that Lola’s is established we thought we ought to be able to do it again.”

Lori Bean of Lola’s Boutique became involved because “anytime I’m asked to be involved in fund raising for education and children, I want to do it.”

Sharon Bouchard, the event’s emcee, wore a blue dress from Lola’s and was escorted down the runway by Arthur Gouin, owner of the L.F. Pike’s, who wore a tuxedo with a tartan tie that matched Bouchard’s dress.

Also walking the runway were business owners, military personnel, board members of Right Start, student-athletes from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, and Diane Jackson, a representative from Sen. Olympia Snowe’s office.

The business association is “bringing community together in a special way for a special reason,” Jackson said. “With fuel costs as they are, this will be a rough year. Many families will have to choose between heat for the winter and Christmas. Now some of them won’t have to.”

Hunter Bodenheim, an 8-year-old girl wearing pink running pants and matching top, said she has always wanted to model. “It’s nice for us to be doing this so others can have a merry Christmas just like me.”

Jill Arsenault, a home-schooled senior who dreams of traveling to France, wore a black skirt and sweater from Lola’s. “I’m glad to be volunteering in something that helps a lot of people.”

In addition to the 40 tickets sold for the event, proceeds also included a gift from the Harris Brothers, trash collectors who often find coins and bills in the garbage.

“You’ve heard the expression throwing away your money,'” Bouchard joked.

Christmas for Kids serves children through age 12 and is an original program of Right Start, which began 25 years ago at a symposium to develop ways of meeting the needs of children in the Oxford Hills area.

Christmas for Teens was developed several years later to meet the needs of older siblings. “Whatever gift they have for us tonight will help,” said board member Karen Ellis. The program served 140 teens last year and more than 600 children, at about $50 per case. “People can help in several ways: You can adopt a child or teen, donate a new gift, and of course, gifts of money are vital to meet the specific needs of these families,” Ellis said.

For more information or to make a donation, people may call 743-7716.


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