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    Old clothes can help community programs

    Stein Mart will offer discount coupons to those who contribute used clothing to Junior League groups Friday and Saturday.

    By JULIANNE WU

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 22, 2001


    CLEARWATER -- The Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin and Junior League of St. Petersburg will collect used clothing for a good cause at area Stein Mart stores Friday and Saturday.

    The Style Exchange, patterned after a similar event begun in 1998 in Milwaukee by Stein Mart, allows people to drop off their "gently used" clothing items to the Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Seminole and St. Petersburg Stein Mart stores.

    In exchange for their donation, they will receive a tax receipt and 20 percent discount coupons. On both days, Junior League volunteers will accept donations during regular store hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Donations to the Style Exchange in Clearwater and Palm Harbor will go to the Junior League's thrift shop, the Scot Shop, 1265 Bayshore Blvd., Dunedin. Clothes collected at the Seminole and St. Petersburg Stein Mart stores will go to the Junior League of St. Petersburg for use at the thrift shop operated by the Center Against Spouse Abuse. The Junior League supports a number of community programs.

    "We are so excited about this project," said Susan Benjamin, president of the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin. "We're partnering with Stein Mart, a member of our local community. And it ultimately gives us a chance to give back to the community in the form of programs and projects."

    Last year, the Scot Shop in Dunedin netted the local Junior League about $40,000, Benjamin said.

    "We found this to be quite a successful way to help the Junior League," said Dawn Lacross, Stein Mart agenda consultant. "In Milwaukee, for instance, we helped the Junior League there raise about $40,000."

    Stein Mart, based in Jacksonville, has more than 200 stores nationwide, Lacross said. The local Stein Mart stores involved in this weekend's exchange are: Clearwater, 320 Cleveland St.; Palm Harbor, 33591 U.S. 19; Seminole: Seminole Mall, intersection of Park Boulevard and 113th Street, and St. Petersburg, 218 37th Ave. N.

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