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Young 'Sweet Potatoes' models pitch in for elderly

Shanna Boges-Shealy with daughter Jada Boges, 9, right, and 16-month-old Brayden Allen. Jada and Brayden will be models in a fashion show fundraiser that Sweet Potatoes Children's Boutique will conduct noon-4 p.m. Saturday to benefit the SOWEGA Council on Aging's Meals on Wheels program. (Aug. 1, 2013)

Shanna Boges-Shealy with daughter Jada Boges, 9, right, and 16-month-old Brayden Allen. Jada and Brayden will be models in a fashion show fundraiser that Sweet Potatoes Children's Boutique will conduct noon-4 p.m. Saturday to benefit the SOWEGA Council on Aging's Meals on Wheels program. (Aug. 1, 2013)

ALBANY, Ga. -- For Shanna Boges-Shealy, work at her Sweet Potatoes Children's Boutique is like a never-ending game of dress-up.

And so it was Thursday evening as Boges-Shealy helped her 9-year-old daughter, Jada Boges, and 16-month-old Brayden Allen pick out clothes they'll model Saturday in the Sweet Potatoes-sponsored children's fashion show at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn. The event will benefit the SOWEGA Council on Aging's Meals on Wheels program.

"We're celebrating our first birthday (at the store's 2822 Nottingham Way location), and we wanted to do something meaningful for the community," Boges-Shealy said. "There are always a lot of events held for needy kids, but there just aren't that many that directly benefit the elderly.

"I named my store in honor of my grandmother -- who loved sweet potatoes -- and I decided I'd like to have an event that would benefit people like my grandmother. Funding for the Meals on Wheels program was cut this year, so I thought we'd have a show featuring kids that would bridge the gap between their age group and the senior citizens they'll become one day."

Saturday's fashion show is the highlight of an all-afternoon event that will feature live music and dancing by young entertainers, face painting, food, balloon animals, a clown, shopping, door prizes and more. Local vendors will also be on hand for the noon-4 p.m. event, and models from "little bitty to tweens" will showcase the latest fall fashions starting at 1 p.m.

Admission is a $10 donation to the Council on Aging.

"We've had little fun events before where we didn't charge anyone, but the idea behind Saturday's fashion show is to raise money to support Meals on Wheels," Boges-Shealy said. "We wanted to reach out to the elderly of our community, let them know they aren't forgotten.

"My grandmother (Mazella 'Ms. Mama' Boges) was very dear to me and instilled in me the importance of helping others in need. I think she would be proud."

Boges-Shealy said Saturday's fashion show will feature up to 20 models.

"I think the kids will have a great time, and this is such a great cause," she said. "This is something we want to do every year and make it bigger and better every year."

For information about Saturday's event, contact Boges-Shealy or her mother, Loretta Boges, at Sweet Potatoes Children's Boutique.