An increasing number of Americans are affected by incarceration. It is estimated that one out of every 100 United States citizens is currently in prison.
The Pittsburgh area suffers similar incarceration rates and the problem impacts women and children, too. Since 1980 the number of women incarcerated in the Pittsburgh area has increased 500 percent. Last year there were more than 4,700 women incarcerated in the Allegheny County Jail and 75 percent of them had children under the age of 18. Every day in Allegheny County there are 7,000 children who have a parent in jail. These children live in every school district in Allegheny County.
Lydia's Place provides a variety of services to both women and children in the Pittsburgh area who are impacted by incarceration. We teach classes in the Allegheny County Jail to imprisoned women and provide case management services for women in our Uptown offices when they are released from jail. For children they provide monthly, fun activities as well as supervised visitation and family reunification programming.
In this struggling economy, Lydia's Place is one of the many non profits that have felt the brunt of the increasing scarcity of resources. In order to help continue to provide services Lydia's Place is planning a "Bridal & Formal Dress Sale" from July 31 to August 2 at The Mall at Robinson.
They will be selling new or gently used wedding dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, bridesmaid dresses and flower girl/First Communion dresses. The Lydia's Place staff was inspired to organize the sale after learning about a similar, successful sale organized by Good will Services in Boston, Massachusetts this year.
They are aware that many brides and their families are looking to reduce the costs of their special day or have a more "green" and environmentally sensitive wedding. They also thought that Lydia's Place might be able to take advantage of the fact that Pittsburgh recently lost its Filene's Basement store as well as the store's famous Running of the Brides wedding dress sale.
Lydia's Place staff member, Gina Cieslewicz, Lydia's Place is in charge of the event. She is asking the public to donate dresses for the event and is hoping that local ladies will empty their closets. Lydia's Place will accept donations until July 27.
Those who have a wedding, bridesmaid, mother-of-the bride or Flower Girl dress to donate should contact Gina Cieselwicz at 412-391-1013 for pickup or call the same number and arrange to drop off dresses at their Uptown offices, Suite 2100, 710 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. She can also reach us via email at gina@ lydiasplace.org .
Lydia's Place, Inc. is a non profit organization in downtown Pittsburgh whose mission is to help incarcerated women and their children rebuild their lives. Learn more about Lydia's Place at www.lydiasplace.org .