Aqua Caliente at Rancho Mirage Resort Casino Spa was the venue for the seventh annual Desert Best Friend’s Closet (DBFC) Lunch and Fashion Show the 1st of April.
The packed house of nearly 300 guests enjoyed a beautiful lunch followed by donated clothing modeled by some of DBFC’s actual customers. Some of the items worn were then available for purchase at the association’s store at 74-040 Highway 111, Suite F, in Palm Desert.
Before lunch, guests were able to browse the various pop-up shops from various vendors. Everything is $5 in the store, and if you buy four items, the fifth is free. Donations come from all parts of the valley, and it is possible to get some really nice brand new or lightly used items that are donated to the charity but not suitable for job interviews, which is the true goal of Desert Best Friend’s Closet.
In 2008, Connie Golds sipped margaritas with friends and talked about our youth. Then suddenly it hit her: so many school leavers don’t know how to dress to impress in order to get a job. Some did not know how to write a CV or a cover letter. How to create a gateway to employment?
Ideas flowed in and within weeks a space was rented and donations from friends began to arrive. The complex was a non-profit organization.
Desert Best Friend’s Closet offers men’s and women’s clothing, from shoes and costume jewelry to underwear – everything a customer needs to be successful while looking for a job. (Golds insists that all young people are referred to as “customers.”)
“We’re not a charity,” Golds says. “These are not gifts; we want every young man and woman to succeed and know they are worth it.” As a result, during a client’s mentoring time, Gold raved about each one of them, saying “I’m proud of you. You did well this week.”
This year, two people were honored with the David Chavez Inspiration Award. One of them, Braden Grayis a current DBFC board member and former client who years ago, with the help of the organization, found employment, learned coping skills and ultimately turned his life around .
The other, Regina Kingwas a single mom trying to pick herself up despite homelessness and cancer, but now, a few years after working with DBFC, she’s a successful business owner in Palm Springs.
The award was named after one of DBFC’s early hits, David Chavez. With the help and support of the organization, Chavez was able to turn his life around. But in December 2015, he was killed in a drive-by with his unborn child (his fiancé survived the shooting) near Candy Cane Lane in Cathedral City.
The title sponsors of the event were susie and Wayne Harvey. Table sponsors were Warm violet energy, Walter Clark Legal Group, Bank of Southern California, Town of Rancho Mirage, City of Palm Desert, Kocen Financial Group, Desert Best Friend’s Closet Friend. The dessert sponsors were Affordable designer shipments and Louis Golan Foundation.
As Executive Director Golds says, “We believe there is pride in receiving a paycheck and dignity in a day’s work.”
To learn more about Desert Best Friend’s Closet or to donate, visit bfcloset.org call (760) 776-9975
Carole Stephen-Smith has lived in the desert for over 30 years. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, she began writing in London and has been a regular contributor to The Desert Sun for eight years.