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Church fundraiser to promote ‘reuse, repurpose, recycle’

By Katherine Lacaze

The Daily Astorian

Our Lady of Victory Catholic church is holding a lunch to sell recycled items that weren't solde during its annual rummage sale.

Upon first glance, the orange footstool that will be part of Our Lady of Victory’s silent auction does not appear to be constructed from old soup cans covered with carpet and embellished by fabric cutouts.

Then again, many of the auction’s items will bear only a slight resemblance to their original appearance after being renovated and repurposed by a group of women seeking to reduce waste.

Our Lady of Victory Women’s Ministries is holding its second R3 Lunch, Fashion Show and Silent Auction starting at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 20. R3 stands for “reuse, repurpose and recycle,” but it also reflects the church’s devotion to the holy trinity. The event will be hosted with the help of Our Lady of Victory’s sister church, St. Peter the Fisherman, of Arch Cape.

The appropriate term for the work done to the collection of odds and ends that will be featured at the event is “upcycling,” said Jan Lambert, the director of Women’s Ministries at Our Lady of Victory.

The luncheon and auction follow the parish’s annual rummage sale, which this year was held in mid-July. After the rummage sale, there often are leftover items. While some get donated to other charitable organizations and community groups, many of the items get repurposed or redesigned to be auctioned off at the lunch.

Lambert is personally interest in recycling, and she does it as much as she can in an effort to have a positive impact on the environment.

“I have a hard time with buying things new all the time,” she said. “... We might be tired of something, but it would be easy to reinvent it. It gives it new life.”

Last year, when she came up with an idea of how to further apply and advocate the concept of reuse, recycle and repurpose through the silent auction, it became a group project for Our Lady of Victory’s Women’s Ministries.

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we just remake (the leftover items) a little bit and sell them to people?’” Lambert said.

This year, the group had some items early on, so members got a jump start on their repurposing projects during the winter and spring. However, preparations primarily come together in the final few weeks before the lunch and after the rummage sale, Lambert said.

Since starting, the women have crafted a slew of upcycled items with interesting personal histories.

Bandanas were used to make throw pillows, candy wrappers got turned into a clutch bag, size 16 overalls transformed into an apron, a wheelbarrow was converted into a kitchen sink planter and a glass candle stick was adorned with a wool crow that doubles as a pin cushion. Several used clothing items got altered, updated or endowed with new ornamentation crafted from wool shirts, cashmere sweaters and other sources. A number of pillow cases “were just waiting for embellishments” and a new life, Lambert said.

“We have fun doing it,” she added.

In the process of preparing the items for the silent auction and fashion show, the women try to purchase as little as possible, instead relying on things they find around the house or that were donated.

At the luncheon, the auction items will be spread across tables, each with a unique theme. Attendees will find their bid numbers on recycled coffee cup sleeves.

Each item will have a buy-it-now price, so attendees can forgo the auction process and the chance of not winning a particularly desired possession if they would like. The auction will take place during the lunch, with the winners announced early in the afternoon, tentatively about 2 p.m., Lambert said.

A fashion show to present a dozen or so upcycled articles of clothing also will be conducted during lunch. Several girls from the parish have volunteered to act as models.

The event is open to the public.

“It’s nice to see people come here to have fun who don’t go to the church,” Lambert said. “... It’s really a nice community event.”

In addition to being a fundraiser for the church group, the event also serves as a chance to promote the idea that “you don’t always have to go out and buy something new,” Lambert said.

“You can repurpose things you have in your closet,” she said.

Last year’s event sparked an interest in some attendees to try their hand at recycling and repurposing, and they have brought their success stories to Lambert over the past several months.

“It’s been a year of teaching that you really can find something without going to the store,” she said.

A raffle also will take place at the event. Lunch will consist of salad, rolls and brownie ice cream sundaes.

The cost to attend is $10. Proceeds will go to Our Lady of Victory’s Women’s Ministries. The group helps to provide for the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of people in the community. Every woman at the church is part of the ministry group.

Reservations are required by Aug. 18, but payments can be made at the door. Call Terri at 503-728-7863 to make a reservation.

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