Women socialized and viewed fashions last week at the Yacht Club when the Tellico Village Ladies Luncheon and Fashion Show kicked off a new season.

Villagers took their seats at roundtables for an afternoon of food and fashions, and ladies with stacks of raffle tickets floated around the room to various tables, tending to those willing to contribute money for a shot at a vendor’s prize.

The luncheon, which occurs the first Wednesday in September-May, serves as a way for Villagers to socialize and eat. In addition, it also makes an impact beyond the Yacht Club’s walls with the help of general admission and raffles.

Karen Sue Keith, event chairwoman, awarded five local organizations — 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr. Tellico Village Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12135, Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding, Monroe County Friends of Animals, Adopt-a-Class and Tellico Village Computer Users Club’s Technology Access Program — a combined donation of $2,500, all contributed from raffle and ticket funds the luncheon gathered during the 2018-19 season.

“The ladies buy tickets to that, and then we take that money and use it to pay our expenses for paper, printing, that kind of thing,” she said. “Once that is done — and it’s not usually a very large amount, probably about a couple hundred dollars — then we take the rest of the money at the end of the year, and we try to figure out who to give it to. We even let people vote and that kind of thing, what charities they would like. We do keep the charities within our realm, Loudon County and Monroe (County), because that’s where our subdivisions are located.”

Raffles have benefited attendees, vendors and organizations as tickets are bought to obtain special vendor items.

“We like to feel we’re somewhat useful at our age,” Keith said with a laugh. “Part of that is just we have the extra money. Originally when we started doing the raffle, it was only to provide money for us to pay for the squares and the paper, but then when we ended up with extra money, and we had the (Gatlinburg) fire, and that was just about the first year that we started because we had just started doing that, and we had the (Dolly Parton) My People Fund, so we gave $500 to the My People Fund, and then we decided, ‘Whatever’s left that we don’t spend, then we will just take and give that to the charities.’ It allows us to operate at a positive level without being in debt and buying stuff, and it allows them to feel then that they’re donating to charity.”

Adopt-a-Class founder Karen Hamerslag said the donation will help support Loudon and Steekee elementary schools.

“The Adopt-a-Class donation program has become a valuable asset to Loudon and Steekee elementary schools,” Hamerslag said in an email correspondence. “Villagers have stepped up, with ever-increasing donations of school supplies by individuals and groups. Monetary donations, such as the generous contribution from the Ladies Luncheon organization, are used to not only purchase classroom supplies, but also to aid the funding of larger teacher projects. We all greatly appreciate our Village support of local children and educators.”

The event also allows a chosen charity to get creative in the kitchen through the luncheon’s charity bake. The Parkinson’s Group was this month’s featured charity table, and ladies were able to buy desserts from the table to support the charity. The charities typically make $300.

The Parkinson’s Group meets 2-3 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Christian Life Center at the Community Church at Tellico Village.

The Shoppes of Christmas is also a path Villagers can take to get involved in contributing to local organizations. As the Ladies Luncheon’s largest event of the year, the Shoppes of Christmas collects raffle and ticket funds as well. Last year, the event drew in 750 guests and 40 vendors, making the donation contributions skyrocket.

The Shoppes of Christmas will take place 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 6, and tickets can be purchased in advance at Tellico Village HomeOwners Association, New Villagers meetings or the October Ladies Luncheon meeting. For more information, call Keith at 248-808-2248.