Gift of Love: Keeps Boutique in East Texas

At the beginning of the year, we told you about the Keeps Boutique near Fort Worth, specially designed for teenager foster girls. Then back in May, we told you about a young lady from Lindale who wanted to open a Keeps Boutique here in East Texas to help local foster girls. In a special Gift of Love report, we look at how her idea went from a vision to reality in just a matter of months.

About six months ago, this was just an empty plot of land in East Texas. Today stands the Keeps Boutique, serving local foster girls. From the outside, you can see the hard work it took to build.

"It's a learning experience and there were times when I was like is this really going to happen."

Once inside, you can feel the love and commitment this 15 year old put into the project. Emily Allegretto says she just followed her faith.

"Obviously, it's from God, because so much stuff has happened and so many people have helped and it couldn't have happened if it wasn't a God thing," said Allegretto.

Once word spread of Emily's plan for the boutique in Garden Valley, East Texans responded, in droves.

"We've seen because of people's generosity and because they were willing to donate some time to give back we have twice as much as we spent in money because people are so generous and they gave so willingly and eagerly."

Emily's mom, Elaine, says some donations came when they least expected them.

"We've had a couple of men actually say to us if my daughter was ever in a situation that was difficult I would want someone to help her. And so I found that men working construction, they care."

This boutique will provide designer clothing, free of charge, to teenager foster girls in East Texas.

"I am very proud of her. She has a sweetheart towards other people and I appreciate that and I think she really loves the Lord and so she really wants to do the right thing."

All of the new clothing in the boutique is donated, but it's more than just a new outfit, says Emily, it's a boost to the teenagers self esteem and a chance to let them know, someone cares.

Today, she got her first customer.

"I hope that she felt welcome and warm and that she can see if she opens her heart and finds God that he will do awesome things through her."

An answer to prayer for Emily and a blessing for the many foster children in East Texas who will come through the doors.

"I want to thank everyone that's helped, and I'm very thankful to God that I could do this."

Emily is also planning to offer some girls' nights at the boutique as another outreach, offering the teenagers a time of friendship and fellowship.

For more information on the Keeps Boutique, including donating or making an appointment for a foster girl, call Emily Allegretto at 903-882-0182. The boutique is open by appointment only for foster girls ages 11 - 18 years old. Each girl is allowed to keep six items from the boutique, free of charge.

Keeps is located on the Living Alternatives campus off Highway 110 in Garden Valley, Texas.

Gillian Sheridan, Reporting