Hundreds of girls have made unforgettable memories at prom thanks to the Giving Closet, which will celebrate its third annual dress give away from noon to 4 p.m. March 15 and from 4 to 7 p.m. March 24.
The organization, which began in May 2011, helps defer the cost of prom by donating formal dresses, jewelry and shoes to girls. Angela Ford of Evangel Baptist Church created the organization in an attempt to help ensure every girl has the opportunity to feel and look beautiful on her special day.
''We want girls to feel like they're special, loved and beautiful. It's about dignity. Just because you don't have the money doesn't mean you shouldn't be treated with respect,'' Ford said.
Photos Special to the Town Crier
Carter Shope from Evangel Baptist Church models one of many gown for the Giving Closet, a program at the church to give girls a chance to look beautiful and make lasting memories.
As prom season emerges, a variety of dresses in an array of colors, shapes and sizes have begun to fill up the library of the church, including donations from consignment stores and anonymous individuals eager to assist the group in any way possible. Ford smiles from ear-to-ear as she discusses the enormous amount of support she has received.
''The response has been very amazing and very humbling. The whole church and the community have been amazing,'' she said.
Since its beginning, the organization has provided hundreds of dresses to young girls, who otherwise may have not been able to attend.
''I don't think people realize that the girl that's right beside you may not be able to go to prom because she can't afford it,'' said Giving Closet member Lynda Hawkins.
While the organization is proud to provide beautiful gowns for girls to look their best, it also aims to create an environment of encouragement that teaches girls to love themselves and appreciate the skin that they're in. A message that Ford asserts is missing in media and popular culture.
''You see so many young girls trying to look a certain way and it causes so many problems. Our society teaches them that they have to be sexy. We're sending such a terrible message in America and it's awful,'' she said.
Ford hopes to expand the Giving Closet into a facility that is open all year round and eventually wants to provide business attire for single mothers returning to the work force.
For more information on the program, contact Evangel Baptist Church office at 330-782-1151.