Health focus of plus-size clothing swap

Posted May 04, 2009, at 7:55 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — To people driving by Saturday it looked like a yard sale, but actually it was the eighth annual Big Fat Clothing Swap for plus-size women.

“You can be healthy at any size,” organizer Deanna Partridge said while hanging up size 18 and larger clothing on a rack set up in her Fern Street driveway.

The event is organized by Partridge and Jo Anne Dauphinee, who are members the Greater Bangor National Organization for Women Chapter.

After eight years, the annual event has taken on a life of its own, Partridge said in a statement.

“Every spring garbage bags of beautiful, good condition, plus-sized clothes just begin showing up on my sun porch,” she said. “Sometimes with notes asking for a call about the swap date, but more often than not, just dropped off.”

As people entered the clothing-lined driveway, they walked by literature regarding the weight-loss industry, the dangers of dieting, and resources promoting healthful alternatives and positive body acceptance. Fat-liberation buttons and bumper stickers also were on sale.

The big message is “accept yourself and be happy and be healthy,” Dauphinee said. “We did other NOW events like scale smashing and talks on size discrimination. We’re the reality-based group.”

The clothing exchange is held each May in honor of International No Diet Day, which is held annually on May 6.

“Skinny people have a fake sense of security that they’re healthy,” Dauphinee said. “In the American diet there are a lot of bad things. We’re trying to tell people to eat healthy — not diet.”

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