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Westport Teen Uses Fashion to Fight Poverty

WESTPORT, Conn. – Staples High School sophomore Kelly Gore doesn’t live a sheltered life. She’s aware that more families are struggling to make ends meet these days, so she decided to launch a fundraiser in Westport, hoping to make a difference.

Kelly, 15, is organizing the first-ever Stride With Pride fundraiser , a night of fashion and music happening this Saturday at the Westport Woman’s Club. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Family-to-Family , a nonprofit national hunger relief organization.

“This year brought a lot of change for me and my family, and I think that challenging times can bring a lot of perspective,” Kelly said. “I’ve been noticing more and more how much poverty there is in the U.S. as a result of the distressed economy. People in neighboring towns are struggling to support their families, to stay warm and to put food on their tables.”

Combining her desire to help people with her passion for fashion and the arts, Kelly came up with the idea for Stride With Pride. To make the idea a reality, she recruited 25 to 30 schoolmates, some of whom will model clothing donated by LF and Jack Wills, two downtown retailers.

The event will also include musical performances by Wreckers in Tune and The Sophomores, as well as raffle prizes. The prizes, all of which were donated, include Broadway show tickets, New York Yankees tickets, cosmetics gift baskets and Apple products.

“This is my first time running a fundraiser, and it has been a great learning experience which I am extremely proud of,” Kelly said, who is also a member of the Best Buddies Club at Staples.

Kelly does not have a specific fundraising goal in mind. Instead, she said she wants to help families in need in any way she can. Kelly hopes the event generates enough to help multiple families.

Confident that the event will be a success, Kelly said she would like to make Stride With Pride an annual fundraiser.

“I'm most looking forward to seeing the final product of all the work that everyone has done to help Family-to-Family,” Kelly said. “I can say with complete honesty that everyone involved in this process has worked their absolute hardest, and it's going to be so great, for all of us, to see all the work pay off for the organization.”

Tickets are $20 and can be reserved online at www.stridewithpride4f2f.webs.com , or purchased Saturday at the door. Cash or checks, made out to Family-to-Family, will be accepted at the door. The Westport Woman's Club is located at 44 Imperial Ave.

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