‘Brightoning’ up the world | VailDaily.com

‘Brightoning’ up the world

Laura A. Ball
Laura A. Ball/laball@vaildaily.com Jodi, $185, Brighton in Beaver Creek Village.

BEAVER CREEK – Fashion does not understand need. Luckily, Brighton does.In a ski town with more money than snow, it seems at first glance that luxury is optimal in the Vail Valley and need minimal. Look closer and one will find a significant percentage of low-income residents in Eagle County who rely on the community’s support on a daily basis. There are countless ways to help make a difference, and the Brighton handbag trade-in is one such example. With the donation of any “gently used” purse, the Beaver Creek store, specializing in fashionable coordinating accessories from head-to-toe, offers $25-$50 off the retail price of any registered leather handbag through Aug. 7. The handbags will then be donated to Freedom Ranch, a safehouse affiliated with the Eagle County Resource Center that provides basic food, shelter and clothing for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault as they prepare to re-establish their lives.

“When they come here, they have nothing,” said Maria Wood, services coordinator for Freedom Ranch. “We appreciate any donations to these victims who are so in need of even the basic necessities of life.” The safe house, Eagle County’s first shelter for victim’s of domestic violence and their children, opened in the fall 2002. Freedom Ranch relies solely on financial contributions from individuals or companies and provide everything from toiletries to court services to job training. Many of the women seeking refuge are also looking to re-enter the workforce. The problem is they don’t own so much as a toothbrush, let alone something to put it in.”The handbag is a crucial thing for these women,” said Candis Wilhoit, general manager of the Brighton store in Beaver Creek, as well as two in Denver. “If they are looking to re-enter the workforce, the handbag is something they don’t have to go out and buy to take to a job interview. It gives them a more professional look. It’s just something that really is a basic need that is unfulfilled without the community’s support.”

It is no coincidence that the company’s signature logo is a heart. Approximately 1,500 Brighton retailers nationwide are participating, including the three Colorado stores owned by Paul and Becky Brun of Denver.”We want to continue the Brighton tradition of giving back to our local communities to benefit individuals in need and the charities that support them,” Paul Brun said.Last year, the California-based company donated more than $1 million to increase breast cancer awareness and prevention, as well as heart disease. They sell charm bracelets representing the causes from which they donate the proceeds.

“The company is very charitable-minded,” Wilhoit said. “And for the customer who wants to buy a Brighton handbag, it’s a win-win situation. It again brings to light the need in this community for businesses helping the various community organizations.”Freedom Ranch works in tandem with other local agencies to help provide the necessary garments to acquire and maintain a job, like “Dress for Success,” a nonprofit that helps women make tailored transitions into the workforce. Agencies such as The Salvation Army and the Thrifty Shoppe ensure vouchers so that women can go and pick out work clothes.”The involvement of the private sector in helping to provide tangible monetary contributions to assist those in need is crucial,” said Tsu Wolin-Brown. “The Salvation Army and many other charities could not exist without the generous support of our community.”

For more stores participating in the handbag trade-in, visit http://www.brighton.com.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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