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Encinitas boutique donates thousands of clothes to CRC

ENCINITAS — A local women’s clothing boutique chain just made a very large donation to one of the region’s leading nonprofits that serve victims of domestic violence.

TRE Boutique, which has locations in Encinitas, Del Mar and Carmel Valley, collected more than 3,100 articles of clothing during a month-long clothes drive, which they donated to the Community Resource Center in connection with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Officials with CRC and the owners of TRE Boutique were joined by County Supervisor Dave Roberts on Tuesday morning to celebrate the large donation, which will be distributed to domestic violence victims and sold to raise money for the center at CRC’s Encinitas resale center on Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Real.

“Look what happens when a family owned business and its customers want to make a difference,” said Roberts, flanked by CRC’s Chief Executive Officer Isabel St. Germain Singh and TRE’s co-owners, sisters Sheree Vihon Bergthold and Rochelle Johnson.

Singh cited several statistics that show the rise of domestic violence incidents in San Diego County, including the number of domestic violence incidents countywide in 2015, 17,975, which was 12 percent higher than in 2011.

She called the boutique’s contribution “tremendous.”

“We could not do the work without the support of organizations, businesses and the community,” Singh said. “We are extremely grateful for Dave Roberts for his support, and his commitment to putting this issue at the forefront of everyone’s mind…and we are grateful for TRE Boutique for their partnership in this tremendous clothing drive.”

CRC officials said the families will receive the clothes in two ways. First, women being assisted by the agency can purchase the clothes with vouchers provided to them by the agency, and the agency will also give clothes directly to the abuse victims.

TRE Boutique, a longtime clothier that specializes in clothing for women ages 30 to 70 (or, ‘sassy 70,’ as Vihon Bergthold said), became involved with the domestic violence awareness effort after one of the employees attended an April forum on domestic violence hosted by Roberts.

That forum included an appearance by Tanya Simpson, the sister of the late Nicole Brown Simpson. Moved by Brown’s speech, the employee approached Roberts afterward to ask what could she do to contribute.

Roberts and CRC later approached Vihon Bergthold and Johnson, who enthusiastically volunteered to donate clothing to domestic violence victims.

The store offered customers 15 percent off of their current purchases in exchange for donating their lightly used clothing.

Vihon Bergthold said she expected her customers to donate to the cause, but said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

“I thought we would collect 500 or 600 pieces of clothes,” Vihon Bergthold said. “When we counted and saw that we had collected more than 3,100, we were shocked.

“I knew many of our customers were looking for the incentive to donate their old clothes, and when you have such a good organization as CRC, I think this provided the incentive,” Vihon Bergthold said. “They would have done it without the discount.”

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