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Testimonials

Real-life stories about women who have graced the doors of Treasure House Fashions…

Flip Flops and Capris in Pittsburgh?  It was an unusual phone message  – the woman calling explained that her sorority sister lived in the Virgin Islands with her mom and dad. The dad had gone somewhat berserk and started physically abusingFlip Flops the women. They needed to escape the situation and called friends in the States for help. Another sorority sister had frequent flier miles and scheduled a flight to bring them to Pittsburgh that night. Our weather was in a cold snap and they were leaving with flip flops and capris – could Treasure House Fashions help? As women, we cringe hearing those circumstances – we imagine how we would feel if we were experiencing the same crisis and what resources could we come up with at a moment’s notice? Thankfully at Treasure House we had the sizes and the variety they needed for their initial entry – coats, pajamas, jogging suits and tennis shoes. “Since they’ll be staying at a shelter tonight, their space will be limited, but when they’re ready, bring them back for more clothing!” The caring sorority sister gathered up the two bags of Treasure House clothing and left to get toiletries before heading for the airport. How fortunate that these women had friends who were willing to go the extra mile (even extra “frequent flier” miles!) to provide a safety net and how grateful they were to have a resource like Treasure House Fashions to provide at a moment’s notice!
*****

house_fire_by_alyssahsadie (1)Caring Community!! My adopted nieces spent the weekend with me, giving their single mom a much needed respite (we can all relate!). That Saturday they learned one of their classmates had died in a house fire. The news was heart-wrenching and rocked the Avonworth School District and surrounding community.The following day I fell in a parking lot, fractured my arm and required surgery – a minor inconvenience in light of this tragedy. The day after my surgery, five people contacted me asking if Treasure House could provide clothing for this family – they had lost everything – including appropriate clothing for their daughter’s funeral. Cindy Backes, one of our board members (former educator from Avonworth), spearheaded the effort. “No limit,” I assured her, “Give everything they need!” Several regular customers bought Treasure House gift certificates to Pay It Forward to a woman in need. These gifted certificates covered all the clothing for this family! Treasure House was the conduit for our caring community, and I am beyond grateful to be part of such generous neighbors.

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On the Road…AGAIN! On the journey of investing in others you meet WONDERFUL, like-minded friends. Our Director
Sally Power met Lori Concelman, Owner of Glenshaw Auto, at K-Love’s Single Moms Night Out. Lori and her husband Sam are GLENSHAW AUTO SAM AND LORIdevoted to their family-owned business! They have created a culture that values their employees and their customers – and that instills loyalty from both. The Concelmans are community-minded and offer a Day of Care for Single Moms and families in need to insure that their vehicles are “road ready” before the inclement weather sets in. Single Mom Shana Webb loved her recent experience at the Day of Caring:

“Being a single mother with an older vehicle, I fear going to an auto mechanic more than the dentist!  A bad mechanic can really scare the life out of me every time I turn the ignition if I can’t afford “necessary” repairs. At Glenshaw Auto, they go the extra mile to earn your trust.  Lori has purchased and employed a system where they use an iPad to record the under-workings of your vehicle, things you might never see, or understand, if you don’t have a gear-head in you. Then, side-by-side, you can see a video of how this part of your car should actually look when it’s functioning properly. It all becomes very obvious what you need, and if you can wait, why or why not. 
*****

test2Cinderella Shoes The very first sponsored Girls’ Night Out (GNO) was underwritten by North Hills Newcomers and Friends.  This benevolent social club designated Treasure House Fashions  as the recipient of their annual live auction.   The generous funds raised were used for a GNO for the Women’s Center and Shelter.  Because many of these women have been threatened (literally and emotionally) on public transportation, Treasure House provided taxis to transport the “chicks from their nest.”  The Elephant’s Trunk in Sewickley provided decadent shoes dubbed “Cinderella Shoes” – a tangible reminder that “where you are now is not where you will always be!”  A single mom tenaciously clutched a box of Cinderella shoes – even though they were not her size.  Further questioning revealed that she wanted the Cinderella shoes for her daughter who had been so very supportive during her mom’s challenging journey.  Of course, momma got the shoes for her girl – and much more besides!  You go, girl!!

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test3Answered Prayers Jane was visiting the U.S. at a local church in the North Hills seeking financial support for her village in Africa.  Her husband was the only surviving male in their village; all the other men had died of AIDS.  Jane and her husband assumed leadership and caretaking responsibilities for the widowed women and children of this devastated community.  Upon hearing her story, Treasure House gave Jane several gift certificates for clothing at the shop.  Expecting Jane to scoop up numerous articles of clothing, they were stunned when she painstakingly selected individual articles for each woman of her village, reflecting on each woman’s preference and appearance.  Deeply moved, three of the board members gave an additional financial contribution for Jane’s village.  When Jane was presented with this money, she dropped to her knees and thanked God for His provision and asked His blessing upon the shop.   There is no doubt that Jane’s prayers have been heard!

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test4“Personal Shoppers” The ladies from the Warrendale Women’s Business Network (WBN) sponsored a Girls’ Night Out (GNO) for the women from the Lighthouse, a program for homeless mothers and their children.  The Holiday Season seemed like the perfect time!  The WBN provided refreshments, filled purses with Mary Kay cosmetics, and stuffed gift boxes with other bath, body and hair products that were donated by friends, clients, and neighbors.  But MOST importantly, these caring business women paired off with the women from the Lighthouse – they became “personal shoppers” – and tenderly assisted these women from the Lighthouse with their shopping selections.  It’s hard to think about “wants” when in survival mode and consumed with big “needs”!   The clients were deeply appreciative!  “I could never have gotten these things without her help!”    “I always spend my money on my kids – this was for just for ME!”   The WBN gals were deeply touched that their provision and TIME meant so much to these challenged single moms!

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test5Clothed in Hope Dawn came to Pittsburgh for a new start.  She had left an abusive relationship in Florida and was relocating with few resources.  She looked online for help, and she found Treasure House Fashions – a nonprofit women’s resale shop that supposedly would provide gift certificates for clothing – something she desperately needed if she was to make a good impression at her job interview.  She called to confirm location and hours, and then she came to the shop.  She was amazed at the warm reception she received – as if she was a long lost friend!   She was graciously assisted in her search for an interview outfit, and with her gift certificates, she was also able to get additional clothing for the “dailies.”  Hugs and words of encouragement were shared, and when Dawn left she was “clothed” in hope that this truly was a new beginning.   The tangible resource of clothing was only their means of affirming the treasure within!

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test6test6-2Restored Dignity When “Ashley” (identifying information changed to respect confidentiality) was 15 years old, she was gang-raped; they also burned her arms with cigarettes.  As a result, Ashley had twin boys – she loves them deeply, but her sense of self was shattered.  She turned to drugs and alcohol and eventually took to the streets to make a living.  She was arrested for prostitution and court ordered to a redemptive program called PRIDE; she received treatment for her addictions, got extensive counseling, and began a work program.  PRIDE referred her to Treasure House Fashions for clothing.  As Cindy helped her find suitable clothing for her job, Ashley shared her personal story.  When Ashley left, Cindy and Sally hugged each other and cried – tears of anger and pain (no 15 year old child should ever have to endure that abuse) and tears of gratitude for having a rich reservoir of resources to affirm her journey.  At her agency, Ashley gushed over each item she’d received… but she said the best part was that she was treated with such dignity!

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test7Wrapped in Love Bashia’s sister passed away – that’s how she was introduced to Treasure House Fashions.  The shop became a place to pass along the clothes as a “living legacy” to her loved sibling.  As a result of this emotional connection, Bashia started shopping here.  One day she noticed a luscious fur coat and decided to buy it for her mom!  When growing up, her mom had made most of the clothing for her and her sister – so this extravagance was an expression of her deep appreciation for her mom’s devotion and sacrifice!  The fur was presented to her mom and her mom was thrilled!  When there was a chill in the house, she would slip on her fur coat…when she took out the garbage in the early morning, she wore her fur coat…when she went outside to warm up the car, she put on her fur coat…of course she had to wear the fur to church even if it was rather warm.  Basia and her mom were both models at Treasure House Fashions’ Fashion Finds with a Flair.  On the runway Basia’s mom confessed, “I never knew I lusted for a fur until I had one!”At any age and in any circumstance, Treasure House Fashions can affirm the treasure within!

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test8Bolstered Assurance The young woman walked into the shop with a gift certificate from Crisis Center North; she was visibly shaken.  “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Sally asked gently.  “My ex came into our apartment – he took scissors and slashed through all my clothes,” she sobbed.  “Where were you when this happened?” Sally questioned.  “I was cowering in another room with my kids, praying that he wouldn’t come after us!” Sally hugged her and they both cried – pain was still so raw! “But that’s not the worst thing!  I’m supposed to go for a job interview tomorrow and now I have nothing to wear – he took that away from me!”  Sally straightened her shoulders.  “Oh, no he didn’t!” Sally assured her.  Sally had already sized up the young woman and directed her toward the appropriate sized racks. Soon she was loaded with potential outfits and was directed to the dressing room with strict instructions.  “When you try something on, you have to come out so I can see you.” (and tell her how great she looks).  After compliments and words of encouragement, she left with a wardrobe and bolstered assurance – tomorrow would be a new day.

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test9Our Own Angel She walked into our shop apologetically and handed the gift certificate to Constance, one of our volunteers.  Grace (name changed) was on house arrest and referred to our mission through PRIDE, a redemptive program that works with women that have been incarcerated.  She doubted that she could find anything that would fit her – because she still doubted that she deserved to have anything good in her life.  Angie, one of our high school volunteers accepted the challenge; she knew our stock well and when she heard the few requests that Grace made for specific clothing and a particular style purse, Angie scoured the racks and shelves delivering to Grace the perfect items.  Grace was amazed that her requests were honored and she gushed with delight!  She even called Angie her personal “angel.”   A week later Grace returned with another former inmate, sharing her newfound haven and looking for her personal “angel.”  Angie wasn’t volunteering that particular day, but Grace vowed to return – she knows she has a safe place to come – a place where she is recognized as the treasure that she truly is!

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test10Embraced and Adorned Everyone makes mistakes and Kathleen made a big one – she became incarcerated; she was scared and embarrassed.  Upon release, Kathleen had nothing to wear for a scheduled interview, except sweat pants and a top; her friends and family had refused to go to her apartment to get her clothing.  How could she make a favorable impression dressed like that?  A friend referred her to Treasure House Fashions. When Kathleen arrived at the shop, she was embraced by the tenderhearted volunteers with hugs, tears, and kindness!  They helped her select appropriate clothing and as she modeled her outfits around the shop, she felt so good about herself!  “I can’t begin to express my thanks to Cindy and Sally – they are truly doing God’s work!  Everyone who donates is a vessel of God!  They’re not giving rags – they’re giving name brand clothing!  Clothing that I could not afford…even if I were working full time I’m not sure I could afford them.  These are beautiful clothes! I love the women at Treasure House and I hope more people will go and visit them and understand their mission.”

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test11Forgiveness “Good Morning, I have to say even though I was at Treasure House looking for clothes, I found an angel.  I stopped in your store last night and enjoyed myself. Everyone is so nice, even the customers. I was chatting with other customers like I was shopping with girlfriends.   When I was leaving, I recognized someone from the fashion show. Her story moved me so much. I went to my car and cried again like I did at the show. I waited for her to come out and told her I appreciate her telling her story. See, I have a sister incarcerated that I have not written or spoken to in 5 years. She stood there and listened to me for about 20 minutes. I gave her a big hug and she said a prayer for me. I never thought I would say someone who has been to jail is an angel, but I met one through Treasure House.  I will be sending a check after the first of the year. Half will go to your store and the other half, if you can, to her for a gift certificate. I may not be able to help my sister at this point but I can help someone who has been through the same thing.  Just so you know, I did take time to write my sister a letter last night.

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test1233 Dresses Elissa encountered Treasure House Fashions under the worst of circumstances.  During her baseline mammogram at age 40, she was diagnosed with cancer.  It was such a shock!  As she was facing her 33 radiation treatments, she decided to wear a dress to each one.  She knew that would lift her spirits and it was something she could share with her friends and family; they could do it together and it would be fun! When she arrived at Treasure House, she was still very overwhelmed about her health threats. The shop volunteers were so encouraging and positive! Elissa had so much fun shopping for dresses that she did not think about cancer for one minute! “Buying affordable clothing is one thing, but having a place that embraces you while you’re going through a hard time no matter how bad things are, that is priceless!  There’s always something we can do for each other.”  Perhaps you’ve seen Elissa on TV for the UPMC commercials – that’s our gal!!

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test13Reinvented AGAIN Agnes was in the process of reinventing herself…AGAIN!  She was attending medical billing classes at Career Training Academy, and as part of their graduation, the students receive a gift certificate from Treasure House Fashions.  Agnes was blown away by the resources available at this nonprofit women’s resale shop!  In her typical take charge and roll-up-your-sleeves attitude, she decided to generate some additional funds for this resource for women in transition.  Agnes had three Premier Jewelry parties – one at the shop in combination with a Girls’ Night Out, an after-hours shopping spree for friends, neighbors, and anyone else she could round up – and two other events held at her home!  The result was a sizeable monetary donation as well as bonus jewelry items for Treasure House Fashions to sell or auction off!  She was “sold” on our mission and Treasure House Fashions deeply appreciated her overwhelming support!!

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test14Rite of Passage Going to the prom is a rite of passage that every high school girl anxiously anticipates – most of the time.  A mom entered the shop with her daughter, sharing the unfortunate news that her husband had just lost his job; finances for an extravagance as a prom dress were not in the budget – even though the dress had been promised to the senior in high school.  With little hope, the girl shuffled to the After-Five rooms in search of something that might be “acceptable” under the circumstances.  To her amazement, she found three dresses that she fell in love with!  Rather than a “make due” substitute, she had a difficult choice!  Her younger sister, who was also attending the prom at her own expense, was stunned by the significant savings.  She boldly returned her prom dress to the big department store and came to Treasure House Fashions where she also found three dresses that she loved.  After paying a fraction of the cost for her dress, she giggled to realize she now had leftover funds for nails, hair appointment and a little extra.  Mom and the girls were thrilled with the lesson in savvy shopping!

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test15Like a Kid at Christmas A young girl from Ukraine was brought to Treasure House by her friend. She had left her country with a very limited wardrobe – her clothing was in bad condition. Clothes in Ukraine are very expensive, with poor selection and, as she stated designer clothes are unheard of there because they are impossible to import and the people can’t afford them.  She was unaccustomed to having so many choices, especially quality merchandise, and she that she couldn’t afford them.  With coaxing from the volunteers, she selected items to try on and her countenance blossomed with each outfit that she tried on.  She found items that she loved and she was delighted with how many things she could get with her gift certificates!  She was like a kid on Christmas eve- – so anxious to share her new clothes at work and the office Christmas party!!  She also couldn’t wait to tell her family back home about her shopping spree. She was in tears when she left, which brought tears to the volunteers, too!  Our volunteers love helping to make beautiful moments like this.

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