Say yes to these dresses

·2 min read

For the fourth year running, FreeHelpCK is helping local teens say yes to the prom dress.

Thanks to the volunteer effort, young women can have something beautiful to wear – free of charge – to prom or graduation.

“Everything here has been donated,” said board member and volunteer Debbie Franklin as she showed off the bright and tidy space.

A rainbow variety of dresses to fit all shapes and sizes hangs neatly along the walls. There is also an array of shoes, purses and jewellery in the store at the Downtown Chatham Centre.

A pastel coloured merry-go-round horse graces the window and a bench for photographs, framed by butterfly wings, sits adjacent to the dressing rooms.

The space, which set up in different locations in the past, opened at the DCC in March, thanks to the DCC’s new owners who offered the vacant store as a donation.

Franklin said the prom dress initiative is part of FreeHelpCK’s ministry, and all are welcome.

“All is freely given and received,” Franklin explained. “We do this every year and we don’t ask questions.”

The effort will culminate on April 30 when the girls will gather at the store. They’ll be treated to a free hair and makeup update, followed by a free photography session at RetroSuites, courtesy of local photographer Danielle Violot.

Franklin said a special surprise by T.J. Stables is also planned, but she wasn’t ready to spill the details.

Pre-registration is required prior to the finale, Franklin said, adding 54 young women are registered so far.

“The community is very generous,” Franklin said, adding Handy Bros also pitched in by collecting dresses.

The prom dress effort is but one of FreeHelpCK’s projects. The club also keeps four little pantries stocked in Chatham, plus they feed about 400 people a week, cooking and delivering food to residents in need.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice

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