A Fun Collection: Hat fundraiser benefits Desert Foothills Library
By Allison Brown
Andrea Markowitz has a fun collection of vintage hats and a desire to help enrich the Carefree community. So, she’s combining the two by raffling off the hats to benefit the Desert Foothills Library.
The raffle will be held at the English Rose Tea Room from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, February 27. Tickets are $35 and include five raffle tickets as well as tea and cakes courtesy of the tea room. There will be 50 hats, starting with ones from the 1950s and going up to hats from the early 2000s. Every cent raised will be donated to the Desert Foothills Library.
Markowitz said the hat collection originally belonged to her mother, who rarely went a day without dressing up and donning a hat to accessorize. According to Markowitz, her mother kept the hats for years and ended up having four large closets stacked floor to ceiling with hats.
“She started to save her hats in the 1950s,” Markowitz explained. “She just hated to part with anything that was beautiful, and of course the hats were beautiful. She held on to not all of them, but by the time she passed away, she had 400 hats.”
Markowitz inherited the collection in 2012 and said there is a wide variety of hats. She said they have everything from lace and fringe to feathers. Some look like something a movie star would wear, some are Derby hats and some are completely handmade and one of a kind. Markowitz said they were so unique and also had sentimental value to her, having belonged to her mother, so she was unsure what to do with them at first.
“I didn’t just want to give them away to Goodwill,” she said. “I wanted to make sure they all went to homes where people were going to enjoy them, get some use out of them or even put them on display.”
She came up with the idea to raffle the hats when talking to a friend, Dianne Olson, who was on the board at the Desert Hills Library. Markowitz approached Jo Gemmill, owner of the English Rose Tea Room and another board member at the library, about hosting the event at the tearoom, and said she loved the idea. Gemmill is even donating the tea and cakes for the fundraiser.
“I am delighted to be a part of this unique fundraiser,” Gemmill said. “As a longtime supporter of our library, and considering that tea and hats are the perfect partners, when Andrea approached me about hosting the event, I couldn’t think of a better place than my English Rose Tea Room.”
Markowitz said the Desert Foothills Library is a great community resource and has a lot more to offer than books on the shelves. The library has various monthly book club meetings, weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, club meetings, games, a tax filing assistance program, and lectures on everything from the Beatles to Medicare coverage and parenting.
Ashley Ware, public services manager at the Desert Foothills Library, said she is extremely grateful for the support and efforts of Markowitz, Olson and Gemmill. She said the funds will go straight into services and programs to enrich the community.
“As a nonprofit library, we rely on 90% of our funding from the donations of our patrons to continually bring resources to our community,” Ware said. “We hope to continue to upgrade our services for all ages. This could include STEAM programming for kids, new technology for our amazing teen room, bringing in popular authors to speak to our voracious readers or making our Chapter 2 Bookstore even better than it has become.”
Gemmill said seating at the English Rose Tea Room is limited, so it is best to reserve a spot beforehand. To reserve a seat and the five raffle tickets, call the tearoom at 480-488-4812. Questions about the event can be directed to either Gemmill at the tearoom or the library at 480-488-2286.
“It’s such a pleasure to be able to do two wonderful things at the same time — to make sure my mother’s hats all go to good homes and at the same time benefit the Desert Foothills Library,” Markowitz said.
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