Support Ozarks Food Harvest at the annual Tea Bar & Bites Apron Fashion Show and Silent Auction, Thursday Sept.19 from 7-9pm at Tea Bar & Bites Bakery and Cafe, 621 S. Pickwick at Cherry. Colleen Smith from Tea Bar & Bites, and Sara Roelke from Ozarks Food Harvest, joined us on “Arts News” to talk about it.
“This is our sixth year for the event,” said Roelke. Smith had thought about putting on an event like this long before the first Apron Show. An event featuring aprons seemed like a natural for a restaurant, she said. “We love aprons at Tea Bar & Bites. It’s one of our signature clothing items there. All the servers have their favorites. The history of aprons, what they symbolize to us: mom, comfort foods, family, love. It goes way back in the old days.”
The evening will feature an assortment of handcrafted and vintage aprons. Many of the handcrafted ones could be classified as “art items,” said Colleen Smith. “We have some that are donated by this lovely woman named Ann Dent. She just loves to sew. And she brought us stacks of them that are hand-stitched, cross-stitched, she brought in tea towels that are hand-stitched… just beautiful.”
The donated aprons, tea towels, etc. are set aside for the auction every year—no, the kitchen staff doesn’t use them (no tomato sauce stains). But as Smith said, colorful aprons are a hallmark of Tea Bar & Bites. That’s because she always ends with several that she herself bids on every year, and these get used by the staff. Otherwise, they represent “little pieces of art.”
In addition to the fashion show to display the aprons, food, and wine, there will also be silent-auction merchandise donated by local businesses, said Sara Roelke, including gift baskets from Mama Jean’s, The Date Lady, Five Pound Apparel, Coffee Ethic—“a lot of local businesses we’ve worked with to get these donations this year.”
Typically there are up to 40 aprons on display and up for auction at the event. “We had a lot of aprons last year, it was great,” said Roelke. So far they have 20 or 30 on hand, but they expect more to come in before the show on the 19th. Asked what kinds of bids the items usually generate, Roelke said the handcrafted ones, whether by themselves or paired with tea towels, tend to garner larger bids than the “vintage” aprons—“maybe starting at $12 or $13, while our vintage aprons will start a little bit lower, like $10.” Smith added that bidding can get pretty competitive. “We’ve had people bid against each other—it gets exciting.”
Fundraisers like this are very important to Ozarks Food Harvest, said Sara Roelke. This month is Hunger Action Month, “a month that raises awareness about hunger in the area, and raises food and funds as well. We are the food bank of southwest Missouri, and we serve 270 non-profits across 28 counties. Each year we serve about 261,000 individuals. And last year we provided 18.3 million meals. One in five children and one in seven adults in the Ozarks are ‘food insecure,’ and that means they aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from. And we’re always working to reduce that—but to do that, we need help from community partners, and fundraisers as well.”
Tickets for the Apron Fashion Show and Silent Auction are $30. They’re available at Tea Bar and Bites; online at https://bit.ly/apron2019; or call Ozarks Food Harvest at 865-3411 or Tea Bar and Bites at 866-7500. For information on the event, visit www.ozarksfoodharvest.org and click on “Events.”