"I was startled to learn that Colorado is the hungriest state in the nation," says Shearer. "I didn't even believe that at first; I had to go check it." Hunger Free Colorado helps combat the scary stat that this state has the fastest-growing rate of childhood poverty in the country through its Summer Food Service program, which provides meals to children when they can't count on school breakfast and lunch. The non-profit also offers meals for senior citizens who no longer have enough income to pay for rent and medical bills as well as food. "Our poverty is the highest in the nation because our cost of living has gone up but our wages haven't," explains Shearer. "So learning that about our own state, we decided that we would go ahead and do a big fundraiser for them."While raising these funds, Pandora will also celebrate nineteen years of selling local jewelry and gifts with a big, rowdy party full of pink cupcakes, prizes and a mini-marketplace with eight local artists. Designers like the Gold Bug, MB Glass Designs and Moon Calf Jewelry, among others, will display and sell their jewelry tonight.
When Pandora opened almost two decades ago, it was one of the only stores in town that emphasized local gifts, cards and jewelry, Shearer says. Now there are many stores that have the same focus, but what makes Pandora shine is its commitment to innovative local designers. "Where we found our niche really was the jewelry," says Shearer. "We love our locals and we support our community, and that's what our party is about."In addition to the giveaways and jewelry sales, the two-hour bash will include food, a dance performance by the Cherry Creek Dance Troupe, and plenty of other surprises. Stop by tonight to support local designers, as well as the eclectic shop that's been providing a place for their wares for nearly two decades.
"It's very kismet to have this event every year where we bring in our locals and celebrate with our customers and our community and have that benefit our community," says Shearer. "We live here, we work here, we buy here, and we shop here."
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