Help-Portrait images for those in need create lasting memories

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Described by an organizer as "amazing" and "heartwarming," local professional, fine-art photographers and hair and makeup professionals will offer free portraits to individuals and families in need at the annual Help-Portrait event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at House of Hope in Cape Girardeau.

Help-Portrait is an international movement of photographers using their talent, equipment and expertise to give back to those in need.

Organizer Sheri Grippo, owner of Bella Bambino Photography, describes the event as "a little bit of luxury for the Christmas season."

According to Grippo, participants enjoy fellowship, refreshments and crafts for children. She said they have their hair styled, makeup done and portraits taken by a professionals.

Photos will be edited and printed on site, and participants walk away with an 8x10 portrait.

Grippo said the Help-Portrait event reminds people of their value, beauty and importance.

"Images are powerful," Grippo said. "It is such an amazing thing to receive an image."

She said participants undergo a transformation. Many will gain confidence in front of the camera they did not have before having their portraits made, and they receive an image that captures that moment.

"Many of the people who come are so used to people avoiding them; for a moment they feel very visible," Grippo said. "The look on their faces is priceless. Having portraits is monumental."

Grippo is appreciative of the businesses and individuals who have made Help-Portrait possible. More than 60 volunteers and more than 10 photography, hair and makeup businesses offer their time.

"The importance is the community coming together and sharing joy and hope in the holidays," said volunteer Jenny Knoderer of Cape Girardeau. "We have an opportunity to be there for other people."

Grippo jumped on board because she was impressed by the mission and was looking for ways to give back. During the last two years, more than 600 portraits were taken and handed out at the Help-Portrait events.

To volunteer or for more information contact Grippo at or at

Pertinent address:

1000 Ranney Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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