‘Penny per pound’ strategy benefits Advocates | CraigDailyPress.com

‘Penny per pound’ strategy benefits Advocates

Christina M. Currie

Collecting a penny per pound of weight lost may not raise a lot of money, but the challenge has had a huge impact on the 110 members of Weight Watchers in Northwest Colorado. In turn, they’re turning their success into a blessing for women struggling to get out of the oppressiveness of abusive situations.

Starting with the premise of “don’t look back,” the Northwest Colorado Weight Watchers group launched two projects — the collection of a penny for every pound each member lost and the collection of clothes they’ve outgrown following the loss of those pounds. Both were donated to Advocates-Crisis Support Services — the money for programs and the clothes to help women join or rejoin the workforce.

“They asked if we needed something special and that was sort of where we were seeing a gap,” Advocates Director Pat Tessmer said.

More than 3,000 pennies were collected — representing pounds lost. It’s not known how many outfits were donated, but they equalled 357 pounds.

“Everything we do in Weight Watchers is reduced to pounds eventually,” said Jeanne May, Weight Watchers coordinator.

She said several members knew Tessmer or had experience with Advocates and were enthusiastic about the project. Some even bought clothes to donate.

“All of the sudden it just snowballed and we started collecting,” May said. “The response has been amazing. It just brought a tear to my eye. These people are just giving fromthe heart. I never realized this project would become what it did.”

Members started the projects in October and donated the clothes two weeks ago. They’ll turn over the $31 in pennies today.

The clothes aren’t worn and tattered remnants of a housewife’s days. They’re quality garments perfect for job interviews or for beginning professionals. May said one of the items donated was a $325 jacket with the tag still attached.

“I threw out one plastic grocery sack of clothes. The rest were so nice,” May said.

The clothes range from size 8 to 28 and up to 3X.

“We’ve got a wonderful range,” May said. “And, they’re going to a cause that I think is so incredible. This is such an incredibly wonderful group of people.”

The clothes have been made available to members of support groups sponsored through Advocates and others who have used or are using their services.

The donation is filling a big need, Tessmer said.

Some people escaping abusive situations were not allowed to work, didn’t have the need to or were only allowed menial jobs.

Now, they’re ready to enter into the workforce to support themselves or their children, but are lacking the necessary tools — clothes for the job is one.

“It’s part of rebuilding their self esteem,” Tessmer said. “They haven’t been allowed to work or haven’t had to or someone controls the type of work they do.”

Anyone who’s received services from Advocates is invited to chose clothes from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. today at the east entrance of the Country Mall, 356 Ranney St.

Tessmer isn’t sure what to expect.

“If we have a good turnout, we’ll know there’s a significant need,” she said. “If we don’t, we’ll know we need to find a different focus.”

She expects there to be a need considering the winter is a prime time for job hunting in the Yampa Valley.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 924-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.


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