Fashion forward

Libertae’s Fall Fashion Gala will benefit programming for women in addiction recovery

Hitting the catwalk for a cause: On Oct. 24 at Parx Casino East, the Fall Fashion Gala is returning for its ninth year, with all proceeds benefiting special programming for clients at Libertae — an addiction recovery facility for women. Source: Therese Dougherty

In fall 2018, more than 200 people watched stunning models strut down a runway, confidently showcasing the hottest clothing trends of the season.

No, this display wasn’t hosted by Gucci or Louis Vuitton, nor was it a Fashion Week in Paris or New York. It was the annual Fall Fashion Gala at Parx Casino East, presented by Libertae – a Bensalem-based nonprofit that helps mothers and single women recover from addiction through the use of gender-informed treatment.

On Thursday, Oct. 24 at Parx East, the gala is returning for its ninth year, with all proceeds benefiting special programming for clients at Libertae, located at 5245 Bensalem Blvd., that’s not covered by insurance.

“Their insurance basically takes care of their therapies and their food, but not their actual living day-to-day things,” explained Therese Dougherty, Libertae’s director of development. “For instance, we spent about $1,200 buying the women bathing suits so that on the weekend, we could take them to the pool. That’s just one example of things that obviously are not covered under the insurance.”

Dougherty added that funds raised at the Fall Fashion Gala help pay for bedsheets and other essentials the women need upon arrival at the 58-bed facility. Long-term residential, halfway house and outpatient services are available, and children are welcomed with their mothers in the Family House program.

Last year’s event raised $55,000, and the goal for 2019 is $65,000. According to Dougherty, what began nine years ago as a small fundraiser has grown into a highly-anticipated event in the area.

Attendees will enjoy a cocktail hour, sit-down dinner, raffle baskets and auction items. The evening will be emceed by Valerie Knight, of 106.1 The Breeze.

Of course, gala-goers also have the opportunity to view the creations of local designers and boutique owners. While details are still being finalized, Dougherty said several shops plan to donate a percentage of proceeds to Libertae from purchases made up to two weeks after the gala.

For Dougherty, it’s heartwarming to once again see the community band together for the sake of Libertae. Founded in 1973 in response to a deep need for addiction treatment facilities exclusively for women, Libertae is one of the few programs in Pennsylvania dedicated to supporting females with substance use disorders.

Over the years, its mission has remained unchanged – to create an environment that reflects an understanding of women’s lives and responds to their challenges. Ultimately, it works to empower them. This is done through individual and small group therapy, boosting self-esteem, grief loss, social skill building, spirituality, relaxation and stress reduction techniques, 12-step groups such as AA, job readiness training and placement, educational pursuits such as GED, housing referrals, legal services, medical referrals, personal budgeting, wellness groups and recreation. ••

If you go…

The ninth annual Fall Fashion Gala, hosted by Libertae, takes place Thursday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m. at Parx Casino East, 2999 Street Road, Bensalem. Cost is $80 for a single ticket. A table of eight can be purchased for $620, and a half table of four can be purchased for $310. Sponsorship packages ranging in price from $310-$5,000 are available, with each level featuring special perks. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Therese Dougherty at 215-639-8681, Ext. 237. For more on Libertae, visit

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