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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Customers peruse crafts and sample the wines during the Cash Mob event at Creative Women of the World on Sunday.
Shopping and sharing

Store’s ‘mob’ scene all about charity

There were hand-woven purses, “anti-slavery” jewelry, fair-trade tea, luggage tags, passport holders, live music, wine to try and olive oil to taste.

All Chris Peña and Kristen Bowen needed were people to show up, preferably with a few bucks to burn for a good cause.

Peña and Bowen, representatives for the local organization Lending a Hand, were overseeing what they believed to be Fort Wayne’s first ever cash mob Sunday at the downtown Creative Women of the World shop.

A cash mob is an activity designed to get people into a local store and business where they will spend money.

Lending a Hand’s mission is to find ways to “give back and help dozens of area businesses” support the organization’s 17 partner charities, according to the group’s website.

“It’s been a good turnout so far,” said Peña, an intern with Lending a Hand, early Sunday afternoon. “There’ve been about 20 customers. We’re just waiting for the churches to get out. We’re hoping for about 100 people to come in.”

Creative Women of the World is a nonprofit founded about a year and a half ago by Lorelei VerLee.

VerLee’s goal is to inspire creative business and marketing solutions for women in poverty. Part of doing that is giving a place for creative goods made by those women to be sold.

A portion of Sunday’s proceeds were also to go to Charis House, a non-profit for women and children experiencing homelessness.

“The interesting thing is that we have one non-profit helping another non-profit,” said VerLee of Sunday’s event.

Sunday’s cash mob, held on National Cash Mob Day, is not a one-time deal, the reps from Lending a Hand said.

Thought to have been created in New York a few years ago, cash mobs have been sprouting up in many states recently.

Peña and Bowen hope other mobs could follow.

“We want this to be one of many,” Peña said.