Shoe vendors play an essential role

There’s at least one day other than Thanksgiving when the men of Berks County take over a kitchen to cook a meal for dozens of people.

It’s spring at Opportunity House in Reading. On May 9, a group whose nickname does not suggest culinary skills cooked and served a turkey dinner at the Reading shelter and then toured the facility.

They are the “shoes”, prominent men in business, education, government and non-profit organizations of Berks. They play a crucial role in the annual Wine, Women & Shoes gala – the main fundraising event for Opportunity House – scheduled for Thursday night at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel along Penn Street downtown.


Anthony DeMarco, Reading Area Community College’s vice president of advancement and executive director of the foundation, carves turkeys for dinner prepared and served by volunteers at Opportunity House on May 9. (COURTESY OF OPPORTUNITY HOUSE)

Wine, Women & Shoes features fashion shows, auctions and raffles, dinner and wine tasting and, true to its name, a showcase of beautiful, creative shoes, with prizes awarded to the best shoes in different types worn by attendees, said Joan E. London, an attorney at Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys, who helped recruit and fundraise.

Spring Township Law Firm is one of the sponsors of the event.

Opportunity House meets immediate needs, such as food, shelter, and child care, and helps residents gain the confidence, skills, and independence to get out and stay out of homelessness.

Last year, due to COVID concerns, Wine, Women & Shoes was held without an in-person audience in a hangar at Reading Regional Airport.

One of the key elements of the event is a fundraiser that takes place in the weeks leading up to the main event. Each of the shoe guys compete against the others to collect the most online donations for the honor of being crowned sole king at Thursday’s event

As of late Friday morning, contributions to the King of Sole fundraising website totaled nearly $13,500 for a goal of $25,000.

More information on how to support Wine, Women & Shoes and contribute to one or more of the shoe guys’ King of Sole fundraisers can be found at

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