Meadow Acres hosts charity fashion show in Petersburg

Big Brothers Big Sisters fashions a positive image at Meadow Acres

Wilmot councillors Cheryl Gordijk, Jennifer Pfenning, and Angie Hallman were amongst the models at a charity fashion show in Petersburg on Sunday Oct. 27.

On a wet, blustery Sunday afternoon, 240 warm hearted women gathered at Meadow Acres Garden Centre in Petersburg for a fashion show in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Waterloo Region (BBBSWR). The annual fundraiser on Oct. 27 attracted a big crowd to see fashion ideas curated by Meadow Acres and The New Dundee Emporium, modelled by local members of the community.

The event was organized by Best Friends, a dynamic group of volunteers that was founded by Betty Thompson in 1989 and is dedicated to raising funds exclusively for BBBSWR.

Chair of the fashion show committee Deb Clark says what motivates her is her love for kids. Her tasks included contacting dozens of local businesses to solicit donations for the show. These were auctioned, raffled, or given away as door prizes.

“Meadow Acres rents the tables and chairs, and everything here today is donated," Clark said. 

Amongst the dozens of volunteers who were helping out were newly-elected Kitchener-Conestoga MP Tim Louis, performing music throughout the event, and Wilmot councillors Cheryl Gordijk, Angie Hallman and Jenn Pfenning, all of whom modelled on the catwalk.

As one of the show’s emcee's, Mark Harrison – co-owner of The New Dundee Emporium – says he wanted to contribute because he thinks BBBSWR is a great cause, but that’s not the only reason. Harrison runs the fashion side of his business, and he favours using, in his words, “regular people” as models because it projects a positive image.

“I see women struggle with self-image when putting fashion together. Some women don’t like their bodies," Harrison explained. 

“We are so blessed to have groups like Best Friends putting on events like this. We really value people raising money on our behalf," said CEO of BBBSWR, Julie Phillips. 

BBBSWR is a non-profit that uses donated funds to help finance mentoring programs for children.

When pairing older guides with kids, Phillips says, “We look for common interests. Commonalities help friendships to flourish.” When it comes to recruiting mentors, “Events like this tug at heart strings, people say to themselves, ‘I can do that, I have four hours a month.’”

Twelve-year-old Nardeen Al Qadri is a “little sister” who has benefitted from BBBSWR, after she was paired with a “Big Sister”.

“We did fun activities together, the stuff you’d do if you have a big sister. We baked brownies and made pottery. It was really fun making friends with someone older," said Al Qadri.

The BBBSWR alumna was one of the younger models at the fashion show.

The fundraising total for 2019 was not available at the time of writing, but organizers are hopeful of beating last year’s $18,000.

Find out more about BBBSWR at