Fashions and bears for a good cause


Little fashionistas were carried or strutted into the Chapman Building wearing tulle dresses and skirts with hearts, ruby-red shoes and sneakers with blinking lights, along with glam tiaras and headbands. Even some moms like Alesayna Phillips got into the act, wearing a heart outfit with her daughter: Alesayna wore a red tulle skirt and daughter, Kalle, was a vision in green.

Young men took to dinosaur outfits and such.

It was Super Bowl Sunday, but the Moriches Rotary Valentine’s Tea for Two, Me and You Stuff A Bear event at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, drew 100 people, said former president Barbara Caldwell, one of the Rotary Club organizers of the event with members Nicole Stork and Jennifer Gagliano.

They were there early and even the day before, setting up.

“We’re always looking for funds for our Rotary Club—it owns the camp. A few years ago, I said we should have something for younger children so they can see it,” said Caldwell.

Judging from the high-pitched enthusiasm, the kids got into it, receiving bears from Emma Stork of the Westhampton Beach of the Rotary Interact Club, who handed them out with a bag of fluffy stuffing, along with a heart T-shirt they could draw on, an adoption certificate, and stickers for the bear house.

Carolyn Mirando, Nancy Burns, and Denise Mirando came with Carolyn’s daughter, Hailey Burns.

“We thought it would be fun, and Hailey loves tea parties,” said Denise Mirando.

Megan Slowey and Amber Gagliardi lined up with their kids, Mason Slowey, Kyle Gagliardi, Cassidy Slowey and Lily Gagliardi.

Lily, she of the snazzy tiara, yelled “Yay!” as Muriel Corcoran checked them in.

(It is good to be a kid!)

“We come here all the time. We love it here and live down the road. We’re repeat customers,” joked Amber Gagliardi.

Mom Anne with daughter Sophia Leogrande were having a grand (no pun intended) time stuffing Sophia’s bear. And wow! Sophia’s ruby-red slippers!

Zoe Saulino and Josie Okubo were making good headway with their creations.

Sariah and Sabella Brooks came with Rian Avery. Sariah informed us she was excited about her Afro.

Local businesses helped with food donations and prizes with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, including 7-Eleven, Nettie’s (heart-shaped cookies, wow!), South Shore Plumbing & Heating Inc., as well as the Trainor family.

Most people in the area know about the camp, that it’s been dedicated to special-needs individuals where they can enjoy adaptive sports, music, campfires, and boating for 70 years on a beautiful 35-acre site.

“It costs $1.4 million a year to run the camp,” explained board member Newton Homan. Buildings had been updated over the years, including the Chapman Building, which is rented out for events.

It is beautiful.

The money collected for the bear event would be directed to their Community Fund, which supports the food pantry and Kris Kringle Night, which offers presents to a deserving family. Their Spooky Walk is legend.

“I’m sure we made a profit; we’re always happy to make some money for the camp,” said Caldwell when asked after the event. “As far as the turnout, we were very pleased with it, considering the big game that day. It was fun to see the little girls dressing up the bears,” she said, adding this funny observation.

“The boys acted like boys. They were pushing each other.” 


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