FORT WORTH -- It wasn't quite a day at the spa, but homeless women got an afternoon for themselves Friday at the Salvation Army.
The women enjoyed makeovers by Mary Kay, got vision tests and picked out donated bras and purses at the Women's Connect event.
Judging by the line at the boutique, the women don't often get to shop for such items. The 1,600 donated bras -- four of them delivered by Mayor Betsy Price -- drew the longest line.
Bras are nearly impossible to find among bins of donated clothes, several women said.
"Oh, my goodness, I have four new bras and they fit!" Cheryl Summerhill exclaimed. "You're going to have a whole lot of women who won't be walking around with backaches and not feeling right."
The event also focused on broader issues like domestic violence, financial planning, employment and self-esteem. Fort Worth police, the Women's Haven of Tarrant County, Catholic Charities and the Cornerstone Assistance Network were among the organizations that sent representatives.
About 45 percent of homeless adults in Tarrant County are women, said Cindy Crain, executive director of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, which helped organize the event. Half of them attribute their homelessness to domestic violence, and 20 percent say they have been victimized since becoming homeless.
"Homeless women have a very specific set of needs that are different than the general homeless population," Crain said. "This offers a very safe place for them to get help focusing on those needs."
More than 100 women signed up for the event. At lunch, Price, the city's second female mayor, spoke to the group, saying the city is committed to Directions Home, a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness.
The women also watched a video message from state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth,, who recounted being a single mom living paycheck to paycheck under the threat of homelessness. Davis encouraged the women to pursue educational opportunities.
Delora Evans, a formerly homeless women who now has a master's degree, described her turnaround.
After lunch, the women headed for the boutique and makeovers, some trying hard to remember the last time they wore makeup.
The women gathered around a table and stared into mirrors as Mary Kay representatives helped them apply foundation.
"Can you help us find our color?" one woman asked. "I never get my color right."
In the next room, Shanita King took a vision test and was told that her eyesight is fine.
"I'm not sure the last time I got my eyes checked," she said. "Everything you have to worry about, your eyes isn't one of them. But, hey, they said my vision is good, and it's nice to get good news."
In the yoga room, a half-dozen women sat around instructor Katy Hobbs. They meditated and stretched and exhaled.
Afterward, a woman who gave her name only as Melissa said she was experiencing an unfamiliar feeling: She was refreshed.
"Being a homeless woman is scary and dangerous and hard," she said. "All this is really nice."
Alex Branch, 817-390-7689